In 2018, 66 year-old Williams, Oregon resident Gregory Lee Rodvelt lost his home in a lawsuit. Because he refused to leave, he was visited by authorities, who were greeted by a sign in front of the house stating that it was protected by “improvised devices.”
What “Improvised Devices” Were Rodvelt’s Sign Referring To?
Oregon man convicted of assaulting FBI agent after setting elaborate booby traps around his former home https://t.co/numgQiSqgy— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) June 7, 2023
A year prior, Rodvelt had been charged with unlawful possession of explosives. This, coupled with his ominous sign, led to bomb technicians from the Oregon State Police to visit his ex-property on September 7, 2018.
Upon arrival, these bomb technicians encountered steel animal traps connected to the front gate post. Homemade spike strips were found in his driveway, which an agent unintentionally drove over.
Attached to his front gate was a trigger switch, which was attached to a hot tub balanced on its side.
Authorities described the hot tub as being “rigged in such a manner that when the gate was opened it would activate a mechanical trigger that would cause the spa to roll towards 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.”
What Was Inside Rodvelt’s Former House?
A man who rigged his home with an "Indiana Jones"-inspired booby trap was found guilty of charges stemming from a 2018 incident, in which a federal agent was injured. Here are the details. https://t.co/fWnLbm1BnJ— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) June 9, 2023
The bomb technicians used an explosive charge to open the front door. In the entryway was a wheelchair, which an agent inadvertently moved.
This action triggered a shotgun blast that struck one of the bomb technicians below the knee. He was promptly given first-aid and taken to a local hospital.
What Consequences Has Rodvelt Faced?
In June of 2023, Rodvelt, now 71, was found guilty of assaulting a federal officer. U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane will sentence Rodvelt at a later date, though he is projected to spend at least two decades in prison.
The Legality of Booby Traps
Photos show how the Oregon man recreated the Raiders of the Lost Ark boulder trap using a hot tub; a shotgun contraption in the home, however, is responsible for injuring a member of the FBI bomb squad (via @toofab)https://t.co/ssI5B3yIPg— TMZ (@TMZ) June 9, 2023
While harming a federal officer is obviously illegal, what was the legality of Rodvelt’s “improvised devices”? Many assume that, had Rodvelt still been the owner of the home, it would have been perfectly legal to rig his own property with booby traps.
This is a false assumption. According to Heck Law Offices, “Booby traps are actually illegal, and the courts have taken this stance over and over. Even with the excuse of self-defense, setting up traps to harm someone else is illegal.”