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A 72-year-old man in Oregon will spend more than a decade behind bars for rigging his home with a series of booby traps inspired by the “Indiana Jones” movie franchise that were designed to injure or kill law enforcement — including a hot tub set to roll down a hill like the infamous boulder from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Gregory Lee Rodvelt, whose traps did hospitalize one FBI bomb technician, was sentenced to 150 months, or 12 1/2 years, in a federal correctional facility, authorities announced.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane earlier this week after a federal jury in June found Rodvelt guilty of one count of assaulting a federal officer and one count of using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“This individual went through great efforts to set intricate and deadly concealed traps to prevent FBI agents from doing their job. These were no joke,” Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office said in a statement. “Mr. Rodvelt knew he was breaking the law and his reprehensible actions are what landed him this sentence.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Rodvelt owned and occupied a home located in Williams, Oregon, until August 2018, when he lost the home in a lawsuit. Williams is about 300 miles south of Portland.
An attorney was appointed by the court to be the custodian for the property and charged with cleaning and selling the home. However, the attorney requested the assistance of authorities after learning that Rodvelt had returned to the home since losing it and had placed a sign in front of the house stating that it was protected by “improvised devices.”
At the request of the custodial attorney, bomb technicians from the Oregon State Police and FBI on Sept. 7, 2018, responded to the property previously owned by Rodvelt, who in 2017 had been charged with unlawful possession of explosives.
Upon arrival at the property, the bomb technicians encountered a minivan obstructing the gate. Investigators said they found steel animal traps attached to a gate post and underneath the minivan’s hood. Additionally, homemade spike strips were discovered, which the attorney had unintentionally driven over in the past.
As the technician neared the residence, they observed a large round hot tub that had been placed on its side. Authorities said that the hot tub was “rigged in such a manner 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 movie ‘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.”
Further inspection by the technicians revealed windows that had been secured from the inside and security doors located at both the front and rear of the residence. The front door also displayed apparent bullet holes from shots fired within. Inside the garage, a rat trap had been modified to accommodate a shotgun shell. Although the trap was not loaded, it was connected to the main garage door and designed to activate when the door was opened.
As the bomb technicians, accompanied by two other law enforcement officers, congregated near the front of the residence, they utilized an explosive charge to breach the front door. The group carefully entered the premises, diligently searching for additional traps.
In the center of the front entryway, they encountered a wheelchair, which, when inadvertently moved by one of the agents, triggered a homemade shotgun device. The device discharged a .410 shotgun shell, striking one of the FBI bomb technicians below the knee. The injured technician was promptly given first aid and transported to a hospital.
In a subsequent interview, investigators said Rodvelt admitted to setting up the booby traps, including the one involving the hot tub.
“During the interview, 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,” agents wrote in the criminal complaint. “Rodvelt described it by referencing ‘the stone rolling down in the Indiana Jones Movie.””