The Austin police department has managed to successfully stop the next Unabomber. Or so they’d like you to think.
Delusions of grandeur hide the reality: That Joe Del Rio was evicted from his home by the city of Austin, and was billed for $90,000 worth of concrete that the city pumped into his basement.
Del Rio, who was 70 at the time, was asked by police why he was “shirtless, with messed up hair.” His response: “You guys woke me at 7am on a Saturday.”
Police found about a dozen firearms in his home, which in Texas is like saying you found a needle in a sewing shop. They also found “inert” grenades… dummies. The same things we used in the military for training purposes. They have no explosives whatsoever in them.
Oh, and there was the underground bunker.
Writes Patrick Beach on statesman.com:
Del Rio said the space in question started out as a Cold War-era fallout shelter — by no means uncommon at the time — which he later expanded into what he described as a work space when he took possession of the family home.
The police questioned Del Rio for about 10 hours. Over what? A few firearms and a basement?
Police also found two 55 gallon drums. No word on if they were empty or not. But really, who cares? And “compressed gas tanks” and “lead-acid batteries”? Great scott, he’s a terrorist for sure!
Del Rio has filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin for what his lawyers say was a heavy-handed and unconstitutional seizure of his property without compensation. The Texas Constitution says “no person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person.”
The City of Austin had this to say:
“The City of Austin has yet to be served with a lawsuit from Mr. Del Rio; however, actions taken by the City at 2006 Canterbury St. were done due to a public safety risk caused by the structure located on the property.”
“It appeared it was structurally safe,” said Round Rock structural engineer Jeffrey Tucker, who inspected the property in 2009. “I did not see anything that indicated it would fall in.”
So there you have it, the city was concerned about the public safety being jeopardized by a fallout shelter and some 55 gallon drums. The residents of Austin can rest easy knowing they are safe.
No word yet on whether or not the phrase “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you” was in the introduction given to Mr. Del Rio.