There was a sign outside the home in Oregon, warning others it had been fortified using improvised devices.
The owner, Gregory Lee Rodvelt, had been known to authorities. In 2017, he was arrested and charged with illegally possessing explosive devices, but he had just been released from custody to relinquish his property in a separate legal matter.
While he was out, however, it appeared he had gone back to the home in Williams, not far from the California border — so federal and state authorities were sent in to make sure it was safe.
It was not.
The details come from a criminal complaint filed last month in U.S. District Court in Oregon, describing a booby-trapped house straight out of a scene from the Indiana Jones film “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or, perhaps, “Home Alone” — outfitted with steel snares and other traps, a rolling hot tub and a wheelchair somehow used to shoot an officer.
Rodvelt, 66, has been charged with assault of a federal officer, according to the criminal complaint. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
It was a Friday in September when FBI and Oregon State Police bomb squad technicians approached the property on Dreamhill Drive. There was the ominous warning sign, and the meandering driveway to the house was blocked by a minivan — rigged with steel-teeth traps more commonly used to capture wild animals, according to the court records.
There was a wood rat trap in the garage and, although it was not set, it had been made to hold a shotgun shell.
Then there was a hot tub, perched on its side and ready to roll over anyone who tried to enter the front gate.
Authorities said the hot tub, which was round like a wheel, had been rigged so that when the gate was opened, it would activate a mechanical trigger that would send the hot tub barreling toward the person “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 records said.
Once the law enforcement officers made it into the home — which had barred windows and a reinforced security door — they saw a wheelchair in their path.
Someone moved it — and, somehow, it triggered an explosion, authorities said. A bomb technician said it was loud and disorienting, according to the records.
The records said an FBI special agent then said, “I’m hit!”
According to the court records, he was still standing but “a significant amount of blood” was spilling from his leg.
The agent was rushed to a nearby hospital, where an X-ray showed he had a small pellet lodged below his left knee, according to the court documents. He was treated at the hospital and soon released.
Later that night, according to the documents, the FBI questioned Rodvelt, and he told investigators “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. 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.”
The Oregonian reported that in 2016, Rodvelt’s 90-year-old mother sued him in civil court for elder abuse — and won $2.1 million. As a result, Rodvelt was also forced to hand over the house — which is why he was temporarily released from custody. Court records show he also has a criminal history, including arrests for DUIs, dangerous drugs and domestic abuse, as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which appears to be related to the 2017 case involving explosive devices.
Following his most recent arrest Sept. 8, Rodvelt was asked by the investigators to tell him about other traps in the house, according to the court records.
“I would not race right in,” he told them.