A man angry at his neighbors went on a rampage in a bulldozer Friday on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, damaging four homes, knocking one off its foundation and cutting power to thousands of people, authorities said.
Barry Alan Swegle was booked into the Clallam County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief following the incident in Port Angeles, 65 miles west of Seattle. A voice mail message left at a phone listing for the 51-year-old was not immediately returned.
“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,” Ron Peregrin, the county’s undersheriff told Q13Fox.com.
Authorities said investigators were told that Swegle and his neighbors had a long-running dispute, but it’s not clear over what. The rampage knocked over a utility pole and left a pickup truck destroyed, and the downed power lines were preventing authorities from fully evaluating the damage to the homes.
In just a few minutes, there was hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, Q13Fox.com reported.
Authorities said the machine was an International Harvester TD-25, similar to a Caterpillar D-9. Investigators were looking into whether the man owned it.
Keith Haynes lives near one of the damaged homes and told the Peninsula Daily News that the man “just went nuts.” Haynes said a woman inside one of the homes escaped unharmed.
“He took a skidder and took out two houses,” Haynes said. “I mean demolished.”
At one point thousands of people were without power, but within a few hours it had been restored to all but 200 customers, said Clallam County Public Utility District spokesman Mike Howe. He said power would remain out to those customers at least through early Saturday morning.
Swegle has a lengthy rap sheet that includes burglary, stalking and public indecency, the Q13Fox.com report said.
“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,” Barbara Porter, a neighbor said.