April 23, 2014 in City

Oregon stalker’s van a ‘movable dungeon’

Steven Dubois Associated Press
 

PORTLAND – Authorities say a man fatally shot by a Portland officer last month had been stalking young women in a van that he converted into a “movable dungeon” with chains and handcuffs after one of his victims managed to escape from it in January.

Grand jury transcripts released Monday say Kelly Swoboda kept handwritten surveillance notes on about 20 women. He rated the women and marked whether they were alone.

Officers confronted the 49-year-old Swoboda near a high school last month after getting reports of a suspicious van following students. He died in an exchange of gunfire, and the grand jurors met to decide whether the shooting was legally justified. They determined it was.

Swoboda already was wanted by police because he was the suspect in bank robberies as well as a January kidnapping at a tanning salon southeast of Portland.

A 23-year-old woman was working alone at the salon when a man beat her, forced her outside to a van and bound her ankles and wrists with duct tape. The woman escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle. She suffered a fractured skull and other injuries.

When investigators examined Swoboda’s van after the March shooting, they discovered chains mounted to the floor in back and items used to tie a person, including ropes and zip ties. The woman who escaped had not noticed such items, leading a prosecutor to ask whether Swoboda had later converted the van into a “movable dungeon.”

“I’m thinking exactly that one victim got away, and he wasn’t going to let the next one get away,” said Detective Mary Nunn of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, according to the transcript. “Our discussion at my office is that he was coming up with a better way to restrain somebody in his vehicle.”

Among the surveillance notes discovered by police were ones about a brunette near the Oregon Episcopal School tennis courts that he rated an eight, and a ballerina spotted outside a Eugene dance studio. At least one young woman was in the southern Oregon city of Klamath Falls.

Investigators also said they recovered pornographic magazines and DVDs from the van that featured teenage girls and young women.

Swoboda was shot three times and died at the scene. Officer John Romero, a school resource officer at Wilson High School, took a bullet to the hand.

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