No Explosives in Device Attached to Australian Teen Madeleine Pulver in 10-Hour Ordeal

PHOTO: Bomb specialists were able to release Madeleine Pulver, 18, (inset) from a collar bomb.
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The suspicious device that appeared to threaten a trapped 18-year-old woman in Australia for more than 10 terrifying hours was not a bomb, police said.

New South Wales state Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch told Australia's 2GB radio station that, "In the end it turned out to be no explosive."

The object was either placed near the teen, identified in media reports as Madeleine Pulver, or attached to her body, but police have not yet made that information public.

"She's good. She's been kept in a very uncomfortable position," Murdoch said, according to the Associated Press. "She has been and will be uncomfortable for a little while to come."

The victim, Madeleine Pulver, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, is the daughter of wealthy businessman William Pulver. That has fueled speculation that the situation was an attempted extortion plot, but police will not comment on those reports.

Pulver is a student at the Wenona girls school in North Sydney, Australia, according to the paper.

Police called the object "very elaborate, very sophisticated." Police are looking for a person they believe planted the device on the teen in Mosman, Australia, a wealthy suburb of Sydney.

"We want to get our hands on who's done this," Murdoch told reporters.

Teen Attached to Device for 10 Hours

Police have so far remained tight-lipped over the details of the situation.

Police would not comment on reports that the item was a collar bomb strapped around the teenager's neck or on reports that a man wearing a balaclava reportedly entered her house and attached a device to her body.

Police said the motive is a mystery.

"The family are at a loss to explain this," Murdoch said. "You would hardly think that someone would go to this much trouble if there wasn't a motive behind it."

Murdoch added that the device was situated in a way that the 10 hours were necessary to carefully secure the girl's release.

At around 2:30 p.m., police said, they went to the home in response to a call from an 18-year-old girl. There, a police bomb squad examined a suspicious device near the woman.

Four officers, including bomb specialists and police negotiators, were inside the house with the teenager to keep her calm as they examined the device.

"There are operational reasons for playing our cards pretty close to our chest," Murdoch told reporters as the situation unfolded. "The young lady is fine and doing her best to assist the police to find out exactly what's gone on."

The exclusive neighborhood was evacuated during the ordeal and people were told to stay away.

While the situation may be a first for Australia, similar scenarios have made news and found their way into popular culture in the United States.

In 2003, a Pennsylvania pizza delivery man named Brian Wells was involved in a bomb plot and bank robbery that resulted in his own death. Wells thought he was an accomplice of the men planning the bank robbery and that the device strapped to him would be a fake.

Wells was instructed to rob the bank and tell police that the device was forced onto him and that he was a hostage. However, the bomb turned out to be real and killed Wells when it detonated.

An almost identical story, in the form of a Hollywood comedy, is set to be released on Aug. 12. The film, "30 Minutes or Less," stars "The Social Network's" Jesse Eisenberg as a pizza boy who is kidnapped by two criminals who strap a bomb to him and tell him to rob a bank or else they will kill him.

In Australia, however, there is nothing fictional about the horrifying story that captivated the world.

"Our investigation of the crime scene will now commence in earnest," said Murdoch. "That will take a number of hours we believe."

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