An Oregon man who rigged his lost home with an “Indiana Jones”-inspired booby trap of a “round hot tub that was on its side set to roll down the hill” was found guilty of charges stemming from the 2018 incident, in which a federal agent was injured, officials said Tuesday.
A federal jury in Medford found Gregory Lee Rodvelt, 71, guilty of assaulting a federal officer and using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, the U.S. attorney’s office for Oregon said in a statement.
Rodvelt had lost his home in a lawsuit, and after he “learned that a receiver had been appointed to sell that property, he proceeded to booby trap it,” federal prosecutors said.
Bomb specialists with the FBI and Oregon State Police were asked to inspect the property after Rodvelt was arrested in Arizona in April 2017 and charged with unlawful possession of explosives, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Gray wrote in an affidavit.
When bomb specialists got to the man’s former property in Williams, about 30 miles west of Medford, on Sept. 7, 2018, they came upon a minivan blocking the front gates and, upon closer inspection, saw it “was rigged with two booby traps,” according to the affidavit.
They disarmed the traps and got to the home’s front, where they spotted a hot tub tilted at an angle, authorities said.
When FBI agents reached him in Arizona, “Rodvelt stated that he set up fishing line and a tripwire across the property gate that went to a round hot tub that was on its side set to roll down the hill and hit whoever comes through the gate,” Gray wrote.
“Rodvelt described it by referencing the ‘stone rolling down in the Indiana Jones Movie.’ Rodvelt also talked of other tripwires on the property and a spike strip made of nails and wood which was designed to flatten tires. Rodvelt did not provide additional specifics about the tripwires.”
To enter the house, “based upon the presence of the aforementioned booby traps,” law enforcement officers used “an explosive charge to breach the front door,” the affidavit says.
Once they got inside, they came upon a wheelchair, and after it was bumped, “it triggered a homemade shotgun device that discharged a .410 shotgun shell that struck the FBI bomb technician below the knee,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The agent was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated and released, officials said.
Rodvelt faces up to 20 years behind bars when he’s sentenced, prosecutors said.
“That’s an unrealistic maximum” sentence, defense attorney Benjamin Kim said Wednesday.
Kim declined to comment further.
Donna Mendell and Colin Sheeley contributed.
Published: 2023-06-07 23:45:12