MEDFORD, Ore. (TCD) – A jury has found a 71-year-old man guilty of assaulting a federal officer and other charges for constructing an intricate booby trap at his home, which the government had recently seized.
Gregory Lee Rodvelt owned property on Dreamhill Drive in Williams, Oregon, according to a probable cause document. On August 22, 2018, a Josephine County Circuit Court judge ordered an attorney to take custody of the residence in order to clean it and sell it later. When the attorney returned a week later, he “noted a sign warning that the property was protected by improvised devices.”
On Sept. 7, 2018, three Oregon State Police bomb technicians and an FBI Bomb Special Agent responded to the attorney’s request and went to the property. Rodvelt was previously arrested in Arizona for illegally possessing explosives.
The technicians reportedly saw a minivan placed “in such a manner as to prevent vehicles from driving past the front gate,” and discovered two distinct booby traps in the vehicle. After determining that it was safe to proceed, the technicians continued toward the front of the property.
Then they discovered a hot tub that had been “rigged in such a way that when the gate was opened, it would activate a mechanical trigger that would cause the spa to roll toward the person at the gate, much like a scene from the film ‘Indiana Jones — Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ in which actor Harrison Ford is forced to outrun a giant stone boulder that he inadvertently triggered by a booby trap switch.”
The technicians located a rat trap in the garage that had been “altered to accommodate a shotgun shotshell” and was “situated in such a manner that it had been set such that when the garage door was lifted, the trap would be tripped.”
The four bomb technicians used an explosive charge to open Rodvelt’s front door and “immediately” discovered another booby trap. A wheelchair was also available near the entry.
When the wheelchair moved, producing an explosion, one of the technicians was standing in the doorway. After being struck by a.410 shotgun pellet, the technician in the doorway was injured and bleeding from his leg. According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, he was transferred to a local hospital for surgery.
Rodvelt was apprehended on September 8, 2018, in Surprise, Arizona.
Rodvelt was found guilty on June 2 of assaulting federal police as well as using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime. He faces up to 20 years in jail for attacking the officer and up to life in prison for discharging a firearm during and in connection with a violent crime.