Australian teen freed from suspected bomb

Police in a Sydney, Australia, suburb have freed a teenager who was strapped for almost 10 hours to a suspicious device believed to be a bomb
A police officer wearing protective equipment walks near a house where the bomb squad worked to free an 18-year-old girl from a device in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Mosman. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

Police in a Sydney, Australia, suburb have freed a teenager who was strapped for almost 10 hours to a suspicious device believed to be a bomb.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Wednesday that a balaclava-clad man entered the home in the wealthy suburb of Mosman and placed the device on the 18-year-old.

The woman was freed early Thursday and reunited with her parents, said Mark Murdoch, the assistant state police commissioner in New South Wales.

"She's good — she's been kept in a very uncomfortable position," Murdoch told reporters early Thursday. "She has been and will be uncomfortable for a little while to come."

Police are still looking for a suspect and don't know whether the device is an explosive, he said. 

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

Police were first called to the house around 2:30 p.m. local time Wednesday by the young woman. The Australian network reported that two negotiation experts kept her calm while two bomb disposal experts examined the device.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the girl, who turned 18 just weeks ago, belongs to one of Sydney's wealthiest families. It also reported a ransom note was attached to her.

But Murdoch said it was "far too early to say" whether the device was planted as part of an extortion attempt and would not comment when asked whether a note was left with the device.

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

Murdoch described the device as "very elaborate, very sophisticated."

"The manner in which it was located in proximity to the young lady was such that it has taken us the better part of 10 hours to secure her release."

Surrounding homes were evacuated, several streets were closed to traffic, and medical and fire crews were on standby.

With files from The Associated Press