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Sydney teen freed safely after 10-hour bomb scare

An Australian teenager who was trapped next to a suspicious device for 10 terrifying hours was safely freed on Wednesday.
August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Australian teenager who was trapped next to a suspicious device for 10 terrifying hours was safely freed on Wednesday.

As Madeleine Pulver was taken out of an ambulance, Australia breathed a collective sigh of relief.

"She's been kept in a very uncomfortable position for in excess of 10 hours," said Asst. Commissioner Mark Murdoch.

The 18-year-old says a masked gunman broke into her home and attached what she thought was a bomb around her neck.

Only after 10 hours did investigators discover it wasn't an explosive.

"A very elaborate, very sophisticated device, we believe," said Murdoch.

Pulver lives in the wealthy suburb of Mosman, what some call the Beverly Hills of Sydney.

That community basically shut down as groups gathered for prayers late into the night. It's unclear if her father, a wealthy CEO, was the target of an extortion plot.

"The family is at a loss to explain this," said Murdoch. "But you would hardly think someone would go to this much trouble if there wasn't a motive."

In a similar incident in 2003, Brian Wells of Eerie, Pennsylvania had an actual bomb strapped around his neck.

The bomb went off, killing him. It was later determined he and his friends were trying to extort money from a bank.

As for the Sydney story, a community celebrated a different ending.

"She is safe and sound," said Murdoch. "She's being reunited with her parents as we speak."

The investigation is ongoing. Authorities won't say if it was an extortion plot, but they did say attached to the device was a note with very specific demands.


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