The "collar bomb" fastened to the neck of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver by a "masked man" on Wednesday afternoon was not, in fact, a bomb—though authorities were forced to treat it as real until they got it off her neck ten hours later.
Pulver, whose parents are said to be among the richest people in Sydney, Australia, was surprised around 2 p.m. by a "masked" home invader, who attached the bomb to her neck with "a chain or something similar" and left a note. Her family contacted the police, leading to a 10 hour ordeal during which her neighbors were evacuated and bomb technicians called in. The chain was apparently difficult to remove but by midnight they had the device off, and soon discovered that it was a "legitimate"-looking fake.
Authorities say they don't know why Pulver was targeted, though it seems clear that a ransom demand was involved:
"There were some instructions left by the offender at the scene last afternoon and those instructions will provide us with further lines for inquiry," [Assistant Police Commissioner Mark] Murdoch told ABC Radio.
A note left with the young woman was coherent and articulate, leaving police in no doubt that the attacker knew what he was doing, Mr Murdoch said.
Pulver is fine, though obviously a little shaken up by the whole thing where she thought she had a bomb on her neck for 10 hours.
[Sydney Morning Herald, image via Getty]