Law enforcement officers said they felt like they stumbled into a scene of an “Indiana Jones” movie last month when they showed up at a property in a small southern Oregon town and were met with elaborate booby traps that left one FBI agent injured.
Officers had gone to the home of 66-year-old Gregory Rodvelt in the small town of Williams on Sept. 7 at the request of a real estate lawyer who was selling the property.
The lawyer told police there was a sign posted at the property saying that it was now “protected with improvised devices,” The Oregonian reported Monday, citing a criminal complaint.
While walking around the 15-acre property, officers slipped passed a minivan outfitted with spring-loaded jaws of animal snares and walked around a circular hot tub turned on its side that was rigged to roll over any trespasser who triggered a tripwire, the newspaper reported.
“(It was) 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,” the complaint said.
An FBI special agent and three state police bomb technicians then approached the manufactured house – blasting open the fortified front door – but never making it past an empty wheelchair that was outfitted to stop anyone who moved it.
“I’m hit!” one federal agent yelled as blood poured out of his leg, the complaint said.
According to officials, the wheelchair was outfitted with a fishing line, shotgun ammunition, and other items that when pushed, triggered an explosion. An X-ray revealed that a .410-gauge shotgun pellet hit the agent’s leg.
Other booby traps included spike strips at the bottom of the driveway and a rap trap triggered to fire a shotgun round at anyone who opened the door to the detached garage.
“The bar of the trap would fall on the shotshell primer with the apparent intended results being the discharge of the shotshell,” the FBI said, according to the Mail Tribune.
The makeshift weapons were allegedly the handy work of Rodvelt, who was forced to forfeit the property as part of an elder abuse case involving his mother.
According to court records, Rodvelt’s then 90-year-old mother and her guardian filed a civil lawsuit against him, which resulted in a $2.1 million judgment.
The Mail Tribune reported that the FBI apprehended Rodvelt near a grocery store in Surprise, Arizona. When questioned about his property in Oregon he said: “I would not race right in.”
He was charged with assault on a federal officer.
Rodvelt is currently a resident of Arizona’s Maricopa County Jail outside of Phoenix, where he is in the midst of an assault trial in a separate case related to an armed standoff.
He was released from custody for two weeks in mid-August so he could tie up loose ends in regards to the civil case judgment against him, The Oregonian reported.
In the weeks since the agent was injured, a team of private contractors -- consisting of former military experts -- has inspected the property, the real estate attorney said.
Court records show Rodvelt has refused a court-appointed defense lawyer.