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Man's Body Pulled Out of Armored Bulldozer

June 06, 2004|From Associated Press

GRANBY, Colo. — Friends said Marvin Heemeyer hadn't been seen much. Now they know why: He was turning a bulldozer into an armor-plated vehicle that was impervious to SWAT team bullets.

On Saturday, crews used a crane to remove Heemeyer's body from the improvised tank.

The muffler shop owner drove his contraption through town on Friday and within two hours had knocked down or damaged nine buildings before the machine ground to a halt in the wreckage of a warehouse. He then apparently shot himself, said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson. No one else was injured.

Investigators believe he spent several months planning and building the box that no police bullet could penetrate. Heemeyer had installed TV cameras connected to three monitors so he could see where he was going.

Heemeyer loved to weld, and this surely was his masterpiece, probably constructed over a several-month period, his friend Pete Mitchell said.

"How he built this was amazing," said Grand County Commissioner James Newberry. "This was a very intelligent man."

After blasting the box three times, police discovered hinges that allowed them to pull out an air conditioning unit and get into the box. Crews had to use a crane to remove the body.

Once inside, investigators discovered four weapons, a .50-caliber rifle, two military-style assault rifles and a handgun.

Town manager Tom Hale said Heemeyer was angry after losing a zoning dispute over land near his muffler shop. Heemeyer also had been fined $2,500 in a separate case. When he paid the fine, he enclosed a note with his check saying "Cowards," Hale said. Hale said owners of all the buildings that were damaged had some connection to Heemeyer's disputes.

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