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Man steals bulldozer, damages four houses

Police have a man in custody after he stole a bulldozer and then went on a wild spree damaging four homes and knocking out power to thousands in the Port Angeles area.

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PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A man accused of a bulldozer rampage pleaded not guilty to nine felony counts, including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and other charges on Wednesday.

Barry Swegel has been in jail on $1 million bail since police said he destroyed power poles, a pickup truck and four houses on May 10. Neighbors said the rampage started over a fence line dispute.

Swegel showed little emotion when he appeared in court. If he is convicted, Swegel could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Barbara Porter’s home was spared during the destructive rampage, except for one corner and a couple of tool sheds. She hopes Swegel gets locked up for a long time.

“I hope they keep him a while,” Porter said. “If he gets out, it’s going to be the same thing.”

Swegel’s attorney said his trial could begin in October.

CLALLAM- COUNTY — The images don’t do it justice. A man on a rampage driving a bulldozer did hundreds of thousands of dollars damage in just minutes. Smashing three homes, one ford truck, a boat and tractor before Clallam County deputies finally put a stop to it.

The county Undersheriff, Ron Peregrin said, “This of course is above what we’re normally used to and someone just snapped and jumped on a bulldozer and started taking out people’s houses.”

The sheriff’s office says the man responsible is 51 year-old Barry Swegle. He has a lengthy rap sheet that includes everything from burglary to stalking and public indecency, and now this.

Peregrin said, “Probably numerous malicious mischief first degree charges depending on what comes out of the interviews we could even have attempted homicide.”

Luckily no one was hurt and no one had a better view than Barbara Porter. First, she heard the bulldozer rumbling.

“So I thought Barry is ready to do something he shouldn’t do,” Port said. “I watched out my window and I saw him get a hold of Dave’s mobile home and he pushed it into mine and then he went over and drove over his pickup and smashed it all up. Then he went down to Dan’s house and started tearing it up.”

Barbara’s home was also damaged but the carnage left her sense of humor intact.

“You can open up the bedroom window and get some tools out of the shed,” she laughed. “ It’s so close,”

The entire incident didn’t surprise her one bit.

“We all said one of these days Barry is going to take that dang cat and he’s going to start tearing up people’s property and that’s what he did.”bulldozer

Bulldozed homes

Courtesy MIchael Carman

PORT ANGELES – Police have a man in custody after he got on a bulldozer and then went on a wild spree damaging four homes and knocking out power to thousands in the Port Angeles area.  Police said that the mayhem started just after noon Friday when two homes were damaged on Baker Street, in the Gales Addition area.

Keith Haynes, who lives in the area, told the Peninsula Daily News that the man “just went nuts….he took a skidder and took out two houses.” A woman was in one of  homes, the other was unoccupied, Haynes told the Peninsula Daily News.  A skidder is a bulldozer-like device, used in logging.  Howe told the paper that the man arrested owned the skidder.

Clallam County PUD spokesman Mike Howe said that power was knocked out to “thousands” just around 12:20 p.m. Friday.   Power was later restored to all but 200 customers. The outage could go on until Saturday morning.  Customers that will be without power into the evening are up Golf Course Rd, along Ennis & Pioneer, Roll-Inn Trailer Park, the areas West of Gales.

Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said that there were no injuries reported.