Bob Crane

July 13, 1928 – June 29, 1978

I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. Two out of three ain’t bad.

 

Bob Crane
Bob Crane

 

Wow. Too much information. Loads of help with this story, it’s been a popular request. Thanks especially to Kevin Hassell, my right hand man at Findadeath. Much photography and information from a friend, Courtney, and Nick.

Bob Crane started out in show business as a disk jockey.  He wanted to be a musician when he was younger and turned out to be a terrific drummer.  His son Bob Jr. is also a musician.  They say that Bob was offered the Jack Paar slot on the Tonight Show, but refused.  He is best known as the star of the hit TV series, Hogan’s Heroes.  He is also well known for being the victim of a brutal murder which is still unsolved,  26 years later.

In June of 1978, Crane was in Scottsdale, Arizona, on tour with a play. This play,Beginner’s Luck, was appearing at the Windmill Dinner Theater which is now a nightclub called Buzz. After Hogan’s Heroes ended in 1971, Crane had found himself typecast, and had a hard time finding steady work. He had starred in The Bob Crane Show, after Heroes, but that didn’t last long. He had also done a Disney movie, Superdad, but that flopped. He was hoping to make a professional comeback with a new sitcom for TV that he hoped to develop.

 

 

On June 28, 1978, Crane had been bar hopping with a friend, John Carpenter. Carpenter and Crane had become friendly during the Heroes run, having been introduced by Hogan’s Heroes costar – Survey Says:  The late Dickie Dawson.

 

 

Carpenter was a video salesman, and he and Crane had a lot in common. One of Bob’s favorite pastimes was to frequent topless bars and strip clubs in search of potential conquests, i.e.: buxom women. Not a fussy eater, he was also having an affair with actress Cynthia Lynn who played Colonel Klink’s secretary. Later he had an affair with actress Patti Olsen eventually leaving his wife of 21 years for her. He was in the process of divorcing Patti at the time of his death.

Back to Crane and Carpenter. Whenever Crane was in town on tour, Carpenter would visit and the two of them would hit bars and nightclubs to pick up the womenz. They would then return to Crane’s apartment to videotape themselves having sex with different women. Crane was Carpenter’s ticket to different women. According to some published sources, Bob wanted to end his friendship with Carpenter, because Carpenter allegedly made a pass at Crane. Whatever.

 

On the night of June 28th, Crane and Carpenter had picked up two women at the Safari night club, which was torn down in 1999,

 

but the mailbox was still there when Nick took the snaps.

 

 

Carpenter took one of the women to room 206

 

of the Sunburst Resort,

 

a block away from where Crane was staying, at the Winfield apartments (Hi NICK!).

 

Crane had returned home, parked and entered his room alone.

 

From his room at the Sunburst Resort, Carpenter could see Crane’s apartment complex.

 

Update on the Winfield Apartments from Findadeath.com friend Courtney: “When Bob Crane lived there they were called the Winfield Apartments. They are now the Winfield Place Condominiums. Not really much that is condo-ish about them, if you ask me. Maybe they were a bit more posh back in the day, which wouldn’t surprise me as Scottsdale at that time was not developed into the snoot-fest it is now.

His apartment is the door immediately to the right of the mailboxes (which were not there back in ’78). The parking lot is one straight strip, with no room to turn around. There is a much publicized picture of his co-star in the play walking away from the apartment as escorted by police. That’s the parking “lot” area she walked down.  Thanks, Courtney.

 

The next day, June 29th, actress Victoria Berry arrived to see Bob. When he failed to respond to her knocking, she let herself in. The door was unlocked.  Inside, she discovered Crane in bed, wearing only boxer shorts, murdered.

Someone had entered the apartment during the night, and had crushed Crane’s skull, apparently with a (missing) camera tripod. His face was so badly beaten, he was unrecognizable. After killing Crane, the killer had tied an electric cord around his neck. Occupants in the neighboring apartments had heard nothing. Police would later remark, “It was a well planned murder.”

 

 

Crane was a light sleeper, and there was no forced entry, so it was assumed that Crane knew the killer. There was also a bottle of Scotch on the table, and Crane never touched Scotch.

Here are photographs of the murder scene. If you are easily glitched out, don’t gohere.

The police immediately centered the investigation on Carpenter. He was one of the last people to see Crane alive. In addition, the police discovered a library of videotapes in Crane’s apartment, along with video equipment and photo albums. The tapes featured Crane engaged in group sex with different women. Carpenter was featured in the videos as well.

 

 

His death certificate lists simply “Head Injury.”  Bob was 49.

 

Bob Crane's Death Certificate
Bob Crane’s Death Certificate

 

In the meantime, Bob was taken to California, and buried in Oakwood Cemetery, in Chatsworth.

 

Blood matching Crane’s rare blood type was discovered in the car that Carpenter had rented. However, this was before DNA testing had been developed, and it was never determined whether or not the blood was Crane’s. The county attorney declined to prosecute Carpenter or the crime. It would be said later that the police had handled the investigation very badly.

 

 

 

In 1992, the investigation was reopened. Investigators had determined that bits of fat tissue seen in photos of Carpenter’s rental car matched those found at the murder scene. In addition, they concluded that Crane had been killed with a second tripod that was seen in videotapes, but missing from Crane’s apartment. The new county attorney brought up charges, and in 1994 Carpenter was brought to trial for Crane’s murder. After two months, Carpenter was aquitted.  He died in 1998, denying any involvement in the murder to the end.

The most popular theory is that a Mafia boyfriend or husband of one of his many female costars murdered Crane. A tampered valve stem had caused a flat tire during his last performance, possibly intending to strand Crane in the darkened parking lot outside the theater.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner surmised that Crane had been murdered in the early morning, by someone known to Crane. The coldness of the body and the onset of rigor mortis determined the time.

It was theorized that the person was very strong. The lack of splattered blood on the ceiling suggested a short swing of the murder weapon. Someone of less strength would have required a larger arc, and splattered blood.

The examiner also discovered flaky, white dry material around his groin, probably jizz. This led police to believe that either Crane had jerked off before bed (ahhhhhhhh. nite!), or after murdering Crane, his killer had jerked off over the body.  Lovely.

A Findadeath.com friend sends us this: “His son Scott (who’s mad at older half-brother “Bob Jr.” [Scott says he’s legally not Bob Jr. and may not be any relation to Crane] for serving as an advisor to the film Auto Focus for $20,000) preserves the integrity of his dad’s image by selling T-shirts of him humping his conquests.  Premium members can see Crane porn dating from the 50’s to the post SuperDad stage. This is a new zenith for cashing in, though I suppose that if your inheritance was some anecdotes about Richard Dawson and seventy-eight linear feet of homemade 8 mm porn, this is your way of making lemonade.  Website since removed.

Funny comment I got in my mailbox today:  “If Bob Crane didn’t do porn, his son Scott wouldn’t be able to draw a crowd to his shit site with a crayon and construction paper!” – C

Bob Crane was exhumed and moved to Westwood Memorial Park, and left unmarked for a few years until relatively mid 2003. Weird thing, they reburied Bob with his old tombstone. He was moved by his second wife, without telling the children from the first marriage.  It’s very ugly, and rumor is that Bob was going to dump wife 2, go back to wife 1, and get psychiatric help for his sex addiction.

 

 

My friend also sends us this, “I noticed on the gravesite that Bob Crane’s oldest son is not named. It is debated whether he is really Bob Crane’s son or not as Scott took a DNA test and “Bob Jr.” did not. There is bad blood between Pat Crane (Hogan’s Hilda) and “Bob Jr.” also about the Auto Focus movie and other things. I also included a pic from the funeral with Larry Hovis, Robert Clary, and Leon Askin. All were pallbearers except for Leon, who Pat Crane didn’t like.”

I was also sent this mass card, from the re-interment. This is the flip side, and this is the new grave, with the wife he was divorcing, prominently figured “together forever.”

Trivia:

In June of 2003, the condo that Crane was murdered in, went up for auction on Ebay. I know the asking price was $180,000.00, but I don’t know if it sold.

Crane was well off financially. He had a percentage of Hogan’s Heroes, and it was one of the most successfully syndicated series of the 1960’s. The show was produced by Bing Crosby Productions, which doesn’t surprise me that much. It figures that Bing would produce a sitcom about a Nazi prison camp. I just wonder how the hell it got commissioned. Imagine the pitch meetings, trying to sell it to a network. “This is gonna be GREAT!”

I read that Bob was very generous to kids, often supporting children’s organizations financially. Legend is that Alfred Hitchcock was a huge admirer of Bob, and sent him roses anonymously.  Those two would probably have a hell of a coffee klatch.

One of Crane’s costars, Larry Hovis, passed away in September of 2003. By all accounts a super likeable guy, and he is very much missed by his friends and fans. If you would like to learn more about him, go here.

For a very bizarre bit of TV history/trivia, go to this page and scroll down about 3/4 of the way, there is a Jello commercial with the cast of Hogan’s Heroes and… Carol Channing.  Stunning.  TVparty.

 

UPDATE February 2005, from Find a Death friend Max:

A&E just did a cold cases thing on dead movie stars (watch out! they’re trying to steal your gig! Some of the photos they showed were pretty gross!). Of course, being fascinated with this kind of stuff, I watched.

Bob Crane was originally from Waterbury, CT, about 10 minutes down the road from where I, your devoted servant, write this. He later moved to Stamford, CT, where he started dating his high school sweetheart that was his first wife. So when you write that there was a rumor that he planned to ditch the later model, and return to his first wife, I believe it (maybe I’m just a die-hard (!) romantic).

If you look at the second wife, the SECOND Colonel Klink secretary on Hogan’s Heroes to get involved with Crane, you can see that she was a BEAST, and it HAD to be a sex addiction for him to even go NEAR her! Anyway, they had been married just a tad short of 20 years when they were divorced, and he was supposedly a devoted family man until he got hooked on video-sex.

Too bad he didn’t “get clean” just a little sooner—& ditch that sleaze John Carpenter. GLAD HE’S DEAD! My money’s on HIM as the wielder of the video tripod.

Thanks for the info, Max!

 

NEW April 2006:

I recently acquired the DVD for “Auto Focus,” the Greg Kinnear movie about Bob Crane, and one of the DVD extras is a documentary called “Murder In Scottsdale.”  Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it adds a few bits of info to the story, plus some better pictures (color!) than the A&E Biography.

First, Bob Crane Jr. (of course he was interviewed – he was a consultant on the movie, as well as having a bit part in it) asserts that stepmom Patty (Hilda) and stepbrother Scottie had something to do with the murder, since they showed up in Scottsdale a few days before, unannounced, allegedly to try to reconcile with Bob.  The documentary tends to dismiss this theory but it is still given airtime.

Then, there’s the blood stains found on the front curtains, where it is theorized that the murderer stood and looked outside at some movers who had arrived at 4 a.m. to start a job, since that’s the only time in June in Arizona that it’s cool enough to do heavy moving.  The killer allegedly waited, trapped inside, until he saw that the movers were busy and then slipped away.  There’s also a hearsay story that the movers said they saw a man walking away from Bob’s apartment and that the man looked like Carpenter, but there was no other mention of the story or of the movers.

There’s also a red herring presented about an alleged phone call from Victoria Berry at 2 a.m. reminding Bob of their appointment the next day.  On Bob’s nightstand was the phone, his glasses, and his appointment book open to the next day, with a pen nearby.  Victoria claimed she never called Bob but someone said they saw her on the phone at 2.  Don’t know why it’s important since Victoria was never a suspect but it was explained in great detail.

Lots of suspicion cast on Carpenter due to his quick exit from Scottsdale, things he left behind in Bob’s apartment (like his swimming trunks), his desire to have his rental car (with the incriminating blood stains) “fixed”, and his phone calls back to Bob’s apartment the next afternoon where he didn’t seem concerned that police were answering the phone.

In the documentary during the discussion about whether or not Patty Olson was involved in the murder, it was brought up about the electrical cord being tied “in a bow” like a woman would tie one, even though it’s not in a bow in any of the pictures.  I think Victoria had mentioned it being tied in a bow when she found the body, but for some reason it’s un-bowed by the time the crime scene photos were taken.  Anyway, just another tidbit.

Carpenter’s widow was interviewed and she said that when the investigation was re-opened in the 90’s and John was (finally) arrested, he called her to tell her and she immediately called Richard Dawson.  I guess Dawson and Carpy had remained close through the years. – $Bill

Thanks $Bill.  He also sends these new improved Bob Crane Murder Pictures. (Explicit).

Read more about the murder HERE. Thanks to Find a Death friend Jerri for the link.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Bob Crane

  • November 4, 2020 at 9:29 pm
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    Yes, the crime scene was botched and Scottsdale police look pretty inept. However, trying to prosecute a case like this is impossible since practically every male with a wife/GF in Arizona was a suspect. But yeah, Carpenter definitely did the deed.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    I love this site!

    I first became aware of the whole “Crane Murder Saga” in 2009. I had heard of the T.V. show, often confusing it with a low rent version of America’s Funniest Home Videos called “Rogan’s Heroes” when I was a child. I have a federal job dealing with offenders and the criminal element, thus became fascinated in the Crane case because it seemed there wasn’t much information on anything that was tangible evidence and with a murder receiving such national attention there should’ve been.

    Hence, I began to dig into the case – files, etc. that were of public record. Initially out of curiosity but eventually found it to be wrath with inconsistencies, misconduct, poor practice and general subjective investigative blunders. The truth is the Scottsdale Police Department were inept and unequipped to handle even a simple murder investigation, let alone a case like this. To say it was an epic failure is an understatement.

    My findings were very different than the “believed” narrative of the Department, which was adopted in the press and the fabricated ending to the movie “Auto Focus” about Crane’s life, which the director admitted he used “creative liberties” to enhance the film. My findings were well received, I even was granted an audience with Scott Crane, Bob’s youngest son whom once hosted a radio show called “Shaken not Stirred” in California (Patti also served as guest co-host often) and is a part time actor. He agreed I was on to something and related he thought the Scottsdale PD was wrong in their final verdict. When I asked him his opinion, he stated “I don’t think Carpenter killed him, but he may have showed up in the morning after and ran away like a chicken shit”. However, Scotty admits he didn’t have any concrete base for this belief.

    So about Mr. Bob…

    Until Bob arrived in Scottsdale the narrative of his life is undebated and agreed upon. June 28th, 1978 the night of his murder is where the narrative is divided. Many believed John Carpenter murdered Crane in a jealous homosexual rage. This is simply not supported by any evidence…like literally none. Nor any homosexuality by Carpenter has ever been proven. Also the idea Crane was murdered with a tripod is relative conjecture with no basis on fact as it is simply unknown the instrument of death.

    A writer named Robert Graysmith once wrote a book entitled “The Murder of Bob Crane”, to get information he groveled the Scottsdale PD to such a degree he never questioned Lead Investigator Ron Dean’s practices which were atrocious, nor pressed inconsistencies in their theories or logic. In turn he wrote a elongated press release for the department and passed it off as a novel. In the book he literally gushes over Dean, his counterparts and has an almost abnormal fandom for Crane, often looking past his flaws and excusing his behaviors as he leaps past possible scenarios to unproven assumptions and attempts to convey them as facts. Unfortunately many cite this narrative and theory as fact. It is not. The reality is the Department had tunnel vision on Carpenter and in the 70’s did not have any practices, techniques or guidelines in place to adequately investigate these types of crimes.

    After endless blunders the Department hunkered down on the initial assumption of the Carpenter narrative they thought made them less inept looking in the investigation. It didn’t. These guys honestly f’d up everything. However to Graysmith’s credit, all his sucking up allowed him to look at Crane files and video tapes, something unheard of in today’s evidence preservation.

    Based on what I researched and files I pulled, this is the most likely scenario of Crane’s death. I’m gonna use sentences in a quasi bullet point format for this, it will make it easier to get down that way. If you have had any interest in this case you will probably find this interesting, however be warned it’s long…

    Ok here we go–

    Crane arrives in Scottsdale and is placed into to the Winfield Apartments (132A) by the Windmill Theater manager. Bob is given two keys to the apartment and the manager keeps one due to its use by the Theater when celebrities come through and need for any possible emergencies. This third key is kept in his office where it stays the duration of the time Crane is there without moving.

    Crane keeps one key, yet gives a second key (a blue tagged key) to actress Victoria Berry (Bob’s costar he used previously in other Dinner plays) due to Berry’s hotel not having a pool and her desire to use the Winfield pool. The key is never recovered with Berry claiming she lost it. At the time she is in a relationship with a wanna-be small time actor name Alan Wells (whom once starred in a version of “Cape Fear”). Wells wasn’t fond of Crane due to his reputation with the ladies, knowing Crane from his days owning a Los Angeles strip club “The Classic Cat” that Bob used to frequent regularly. They eventually marry after Crane’s murder and disappear from public conscience until Berry gives interviews in the early 90’s to gossip column television shows such as “A Current Affair”, “Inside Edition”, etc.

    Bob has multiple relationships with women while Scottsdale, usually at the apartment (the sheets that Crane was murdered on are still maintained in Scottsdale as evidence – trace DNA collecting should be used on this to create a subject base but for some reason it has not been).

    Berry claims she had no sexual contact with Crane in Scottsdale, nor had prior when questioned the day of Crane’s murder. Later Berry admits she lied to authorities and prior to Scottsdale she had multiple sexual encounters with Crane (this is where the red flags begin…in light of someone’s murder why would you lie?).

    During Bob’s run he conducts only post show appearances with fans for the “Beginners Luck” play, arriving sometimes mere 30 minutes before the show is set to start. Often these are done on stage afterwards or in the theater lobby. Crane admits to Carpenter that he uses this time to look for future conquests or score dates…hey ya can’t hate a guy for trying. Crane also holds rehearsals for incoming stage talents in the apartment. Berry repeatedly attends, claiming Crane is helping her acting by filming her readings. No tapes of readings are ever found. Nor is pictures Berry later admits were made of her in provocative poses near the apartment pool.

    Crane picks up Carpenter at the airport and they get Carpenter a rental car which he rarely uses but parks at a seperate hotel, the “Sunburst”, five minutes away (walking). He later uses a shuttle cab to get to the airport and thus in the last day of Cranes life never uses it as he claims its faulty. The car is seen always parked by the Hotel staff. Debunking the “brain tissue theory”, which was most likely human biomatter…possible food.

    Crane and Carpenter hang out for a few days, messing around with equipment in Cranes apartment and also setting up a photo developing lab in Cranes bedroom bathroom, which they install literally on the toilet. Carpenter also visits local audio/video stores that carry his employers products and checks for service problems, during which Crane tags along and looks at video equipment. Employees remark the two joke around repeatedly and seem to enjoy each other company.

    THE NIGHT OF CRANES MURDER – JUNE 28TH, 1978.

    This is where things get dicey.

    On the night of Cranes murder Crane arrives at the theater with Carpenter. Crane parks in the back at his usual spot. The area is not lit and very dark. Only three people knew his usual arrival time and parking area – Crane himself, the Theater Manager and Berry.

    After Crane arrives Carpenter hangs out in the back of the audience seating, during her off scenes Berry joins him. Carpenter is witnessed by other patrons as an “Indian individual”, Carpenter stands out specifically due to his dark hair. It is during this time, someone disables Crane’s tire in the parking lot. Carpenter is never seen leaving the theater and sips drinks at the side table.

    When Crane and Carpenter exit Berry states she sees them leave the theater and Bob remarks for her to “not forget their appointment” the next day. This is in reference to a radio spot at a local station and Berry’s recording of readings in the apartment.

    Crane notices a flat tire and instead of changing it – like many people would, he drives the flat across the street to a service station that switches it with a spare and relays they will fix it by the next day. Bob makes arrangements to pick up the plugged tire and heads off with Carpenter into the night.

    Upon inspection, the service station attendant notices the valve cord/stem has been cut from the tire deliberately to disable the vehicle. Bob is not told this as he was out for the evening with Carpenter. (This is most likely the first attempt at murdering Crane. The killer most likely believed that Bob would attempt to fix the tire allowing the killer to strike when Bob wasn’t paying attention. With various avenues and lack of light, it would’ve been a easy getaway for the killer. However when Carpenter exited with Crane the plan was shot, also Bob’s lack of concern about the vehicle hence driving it on a flat thwarted any further murder plan at the Theater. During the vehicle tampering Carpenter was witnessed inside the theater, never leaving. Bob’s parking spot, vehicle and schedule were again only known to those previous other two with only Berry and Carpenter to have actually rode in the vehicle.

    There is a contention by Graysmith that Carpenter possibly was going to kill Crane outside of the theater, which is illogical and has no merit in evidence due to Carpenter not leaving the theater at anytime, making him unable to disable the tire. Also nobody would be that stupid to be the only person outside with a murdered Individual and expect to not be the prime suspect. Again, tunnel vision.

    Bob and Carpenter go out to some local hotspots such as “The Safari”, with one waitress “Linda” claiming they were raising their voices while talking. However, other witnesses state they seemed in normal conversation much like other people at the establishment. This single statement by Linda is the basis for the “severed friendship” theory by Dean and other Scottsdale investigators. This is also combined with Bob Crane Jr’s statement that the elder Crane related Carpenter was annoying and kind of a “hanger on” months prior. This is a giant leap to murder, yet the Scottsdale PD went all-in with it. Besides this statement by Bob Jr., no others statements of this nature have every been witnessed. Bob Jr. often speaks of his father trying to change his life. Based on the crime scene, does anyone really think Bob was trying to change anything? Looks like business as usual.

    In the movie “Auto Focus” it is portrayed that Crane and Carpenter had a falling out at The Safari, then went back to their hotels and had another argument over the phone (living room), while Carpenter stroked his crotch…seriously. People have considered this fact, it is not. Bob and Carpenter actually had plans after this outing at a restaurant with two women they meet there (though Bob had previous involvement with one of the women), Bob’s suggestion to his fancy is she brings a friend for Carpenter.

    The two eventually meet the women and rendezvous at a diner called “Bobby McGee’s”, Bob assists Carpenter with convincing one of the women to return to the Sunburst hotel with Carpenter. Crane and the other woman go for a “drive” with eventually both Carpenter and Crane “striking out” with the women. This point of contention doesn’t seem the likely scenario for a guy ending a friendship and telling a friend to get lost. “Hey, get lost we are not friends anymore…hey come with me and let me help you get laid” – I mean does this make any rational sense? Nope. Neither does helping Carpenter arrange his work schedule to coincide with Crane’s Dinner Theater loop at Scottsdale, including accommodations. It simply doesn’t seem rational at all. The fact both women relay Crane and Carpenter were laughing and having a good time also blows holes in this theory.

    Meanwhile back at Cranes apartment… This is where the evidence led me to a very rational explanation supported by everything at the crime scene. The idea that someone was inside Crane’s apartment while he was gone during this time is highly likely. This is ‘time placed’ by how the apartment was left. I’ll explain.

    During Bob’s run at Scottadale he kept a black shoulder strung bag with him very close. It had albums of photographs of women, basically his conquests nude and also performing sex acts. These included Crane himself. This is very important. Only two people knew about the bag and had been shown the contents of it. Carpenter and Berry. Both admitting it was a white photo album, very thick of nude women and Crane, he showed them almost nonchalantly and would remark “look at this one I had”. Crane never left it out in the open and only video tapes were left out as Crane had a penchant for editing them together in hodgepodge ways (often recording sex acts, then clips of the Hogans Heroes show, then maybe the Late Show with no sense of rhyme or reason). These tapes were unmarked and strewn throughout the apartment.

    When Crane was found, a few items were disturbed and removed in the apartment. For these items to be taken. the killer had to know exactly what he was looking for and where to find them, one smaller photo book was left with pictures taken out, showing the killer had to sift thru Bob’s various items cluttering the apartment. This occurred during a short period of time and in the darkness. Bob was notorious messy and cluttery. Crime scene photos show the apartment unkept and items randomly placed throughout the apartment. Witness stated the Apartment as always in unkept like it was found.

    The biggest detriment to the killer was time and Cranes unorthodox schedule. Crane was a night owl and would often stay up all night prowling women, making sex tapes or stay up tinkering with video equipment. The killer had to have some knowledge of the layout of the apartment, Bob’s personal items and a round-about time schedule for Bob. Again only a few people had this type of knowledge. Most notably Berry and Carpenter.

    The most rational assumption and most likely scenario is the murderer was inside Crane’s apartment locating the items him/they eventually would take after Crane was dead, prior to Bob returning. This idea is twofold. As it will make the most rational sense later on…this includes the “they” idea.

    Again the time period for landscaping these items is very small with the killer having no idea when Crane or both men might return. Only a few people were ever allowed by Bob in the apartment. Mostly women, whom Bob would film and/or have intercourse with. He would usually see them out after these endeavours. The only other persons regularly at the apartment were Berry, recently Carpenter and a sporadic visit by a few actors to red lines with only the initial two knowing of Bob’s private side to its degree.

    So after striking out, both men are left to their own devices. Bob returns to the apartment and Carpenter whom struck out at the Sunburst, calls him. Bob relays to Carpenter that he is in his boxer shorts finishing up editing a bootlegged a copy of “Saturday Night Fever” for Carpenter to bring back to Bob Jr. (Again another hole in the severed friendship theory…oddly Bob edits out the swear words in the movie) and Carpenters swimming trunks that were left (Bob Jr. lives near Carpenter). Carpenter also relays to Crane that he will be taking a shuttle cab to the airport and will not be needing a ride but arrangements are made to pick up the items regardless before Carpenter departs. This call is time stamped by the hotel and verified occurring.

    Carpenter claims this is the last time he spoke to Crane.

    Scottsdale’s Ron Dean contends that this is when Carpenter snuck into Crane’s apartment through a rear sliding glass door (that faced the inner pool) while Crane slept and crushed his skull with a tripod over some homosexual homicidal rejection. This however, based on the crime scene, is fraught with inconsistency and lack of evidence.

    The best evidence for the murder is the layout of the apartment ITSELF . For all of Graysmith’s Scottsdale Department pandering he did release one great piece of evidence. The entire layout of Bob’s apartment. Through all the pictures and files he obtained, the Scottsdale PD provided him with every inch of the apartment. All the graphs and measurements. Graysmith illustrated this entire scene in his book. It can be found online as well and it’s remarkable.

    For starters you see the path Bob took after arriving at the apartment. Bob’s keys are in the table. He kicked his shoes off here, left his shirt there, folded his slacks and laid them over a seat in the living room. The video of Saturday Night Fever is laying on the swimming trunks on the floor just as Carpenter had stated.

    The oddities come with the murder and the Scottsdale PD narrative. Dean surmises that Carpenter crept into Bob’s apartment sometime in the early morning hours of June 29th, 1978 between approximately 1:30 – 4:00 a.m. This time frame is based on Bob’s date ending and two furniture movers at the outside of the Winfield Apartments witnessing someone peering at them thru the blinds at Bob’s apartment. This is the spare bedroom window which went unoccupied during Bob’s stay at Scottsdale and the only one that faced the parking lot.

    Now before I continue, Bob was a notoriously light sleeper and always locked his doors. Female companions unanimously remarked Bob would awake at any motion. And anyone associated with Bob’s personal life noted he always locked doors as soon as he entered a residence, deadbolting them and used a slide lock if available. Most assumed it was due to all the pornographic videos and pictures of women he had in his possession.

    Now with this being said, according to the Scottsdale P.D., Carpenter would’ve had to access the sliding glass door, which he would’ve had to unlocked prior to the evening’s activities. This would have to be before the Theater show itself. This would mean he would’ve had some foresight they were gonna have a falling out. Again, not likely.

    So let’s say Carpenter is a psychic and unlocks the sliding glass door from inside the apartment. The biggest obstacle is the mountain of equipment, including T.V., entertainment center and other items Bob had in front of the sliding back door, which also had the large curtain drawn in front of it. He would have to – in theory, slide open the door (possibly unlocking it), slide open the curtain and maneuver thru…not around the equipment in the pitch dark in total silence and not awake Crane. Based on the scene. It’s simply not possible. Scottsdale PD pushes this idea because of two reasons. One the backdoor was unlocked and two, a cable was cut from a piece of equipment by the sliding back door that the killer tied around Bob’s neck (This, in Dean’s estimation was placed around Bob’s neck not as a instrument of death, but to represent a severed friendship…I mean seriously, that’s probably the biggest reach I can think of…the guys already dead, it makes no sense.)

    Beyond the fact that Carpenter couldn’t get thru the door without awaking Crane it also shows that cable was cut after Crane was murdered as Crane was using the equipment for editing before he slept as he was finishing the “Fever” video, if the cable was cut before the murder the possibility of awakening Crane is likely and if cut sooner Crane would’ve noticed it cut if he used the equipment before he slept because it wouldn’t have worked. I mean this isn’t rocket science here.

    Dean further believes Carpenter picked up a tripod from the living room and struck Crane with it due to three ideals. One the wound on Crane’s head was a line abrasion (no clue how that is a tripod adjustment mark). Two the amount of blood on the wall shows a high flung arc. And finally three a “V” shaped blood stains on the sheet. This tripod, they claim killed Crane is never seen in the apartment prior or found after. It pretty much doesn’t exist in fact. But there “could’ve” been one right? I mean there also “could’ve” been a huge pair of bolt cutters…it looks like a “V” too… How they even presented this at trial years later is a total joke.

    Now I have actually tried this…seriously. I was that curious about this theory. I own a tripod. A few actually. I hit repeated cantaloupes (police actually use this due to its thick outer skin) and never could get the autopsy result of Crane’s lacerations on his head. I was able however, to exactly match these images with a pipe. A hollowed out, round pipe with two open perfectly cut ends. I matched it repeatedly, over and over again. Though a tube in nature, due to the perfect cut, the impact point is a perfect line with the outer rounded since the tube is round. Just like Crane’s skull.

    I next put up sheets on a wall and bashed the cantaloupes four times and upon swinging it upward the contents (blood) go inside the pipe, due to the open airflow they were forced outward at an accelerated force, leaving them higher on the wall. Hence matching the blood splaters on the wall at the apartment.

    After the murder Dean believes the killer wiped the tripod with the bed sheet. Due to the “V” blood stain…this is his proof it was a tripod. I found this easily squelched with…again…a pipe. I tried at first to wipe a tomato sauced tripod with a sheet by laying the tripod on a sheet open and trying to wipe it up with the same sheet. It was a mess and looked awful, nothing like sheet in the murder. I then laid a tomato sauced pipe on a bed sheet. Then folded the sheet over the pipe at an angle, kind of like taking a corner of the bed sheet. I then pulled the pipe outward while pressing the sheet. Hence cleaning it. It worked perfectly and resembled the sheet in Scottsdale exactly. I mean how much did they pay these guys in Scottsdale to be so inept? Ridiculous.

    So Bob gets murdered. But before he does he receives a phone call from Victoria Berry at 2:00 a.m. this is backed by witnesses seeing Berry on the phone and of course Berry denies this. Berry, a blonde bombshell is “not” going to stick out at 2:00 a.m. talking on the phone near the hotel room she stays (that’s sarcasm). I guess these three people just imagined it was her, maybe it was Farrah Facet… Was she calling Bob? If she wasn’t why would she deny that she was on the phone at 2:00 a.m. even though three people witnessed her?

    Now why she would call him so early in the morning makes little sense as she knows he is usually out with women. According to the crime scene Bob’s appointment book is open with his glasses on it, the appointment with Berry at the radio station is on the page. A notation to take Carpenter to the airport is scratched out also on the page, confirming Carpenters account of their conversation. In an odd circumstance the phone in the bedroom was wiped clean of prints. Meaning the killer had most likely used it to call someone. Why would he wipe Bob’s prints off the phone? It’s the only rational explanation. Why would the killer need assistance from anyone, again, I found very telling.

    The fact Berry might have called him stuck with me for a while, also that she lied about having sex with Bob. Then I started to connect some dots.

    So after Bob goes to sleep he is murdered. The killer then goes to the front door and unlocks it leaving blood stains on the door. I often wondered why the killer would leave two unlocked doors in light of murder he’d just committed, on it’s face it sounds like the stupidest thing in the world for a killer to do. He is literally asking to possibly get caught. Then I started to put some things together. The most likely scenario is the killer murdered Crane, then contacted a accomplice whom came to the apartment. The killer let this person in through the front door (leaving blood trails) at which time the items of Bob’s were taken.

    The black bag Bob had was found on the bed next to his body. It was placed there after the murder as blood was under it on the sheets. The contents were taken but the bag was left there, why it wasn’t taken leads credence to the fact the killer had to slip out the rear sliding door around all the equipment with not much room and a bag would hinder any stealthy movements. I found it odd the killer needed assistance from anyone, unless the accomplice was assisting or looking for something specific.

    Soon at 4:00 a.m., two movers see someone looking at them thru the curtain at Bob’s apartment in the spare room. Which is confirmed by blood traces on the window blinds. Yet nobody leaves the the apartment through the front door. Again why was it then left unlocked? The movers for their part arrive at the apartment complex before sunset as the Arizona heat is atrocious at this time and moving furniture and such becomes a more miserable experience.

    I have a theory…

    Later that morning Victoria Berry does the radio spot with no Bob. She goes to the apartment after and opens the door which is unlocked. She relays there is a newspaper at the door. She wanders thru the apartment in the dark, never turning on lights or opening blinds. She claims she eventually finds Bob in his bed.

    She states she initially thinks it’s a women, then thinks it’s a dead girl that killed herself over Bob..seriously, then notices it’s a dead man, then thinks its Carpenter but eventually realizes its Crane by his watch. She then relates she stands there staring at him for minutes. This is where I totally died laughing at how improbable this is. Human’s have an inheriting “self-preservation” reaction. No rationale person would not consider their life was in jeopardy and immediately run. Apparently Berry didn’t, this is highly implausible. Another thing I found odd was her claiming she thought it was a women who’d slit her wrists. She is literally looking at someone whom has had their head bashed in…how can you mistake that for slit wrists?

    Before she leaves Berry states she sees a chord tied around Bob’s neck in a nice tidy “bow”. However when Scottsdale Police try to tie the chord it cannot be kept in “bow” form for more than mere seconds before the plastic and metal components retract leaving the chord just laying there which is how it is found by responding authorities. Either Berry is lying or the killer had just tied it under a minute or so before Berry arrived. There’s a pretty blatant pattern here of one person having a lot of inconsistences.

    Berry then claims she runs out of the apartment, after initially deciding to just stand there and stare at Bob’s corpse for around 5-10 minutes and contacts a neighbor to call police. The Scottsdale PD do everything you don’t do at crime scenes immediately afterwards. The don’t dust for prints, they let everyone come in and look around, talk on the phone, they smoke, drink coffee and worse of all they let a autopsy “specialist” cut into Bob’s scalp at the apartment, on the bed. Doing a makeshift autopsy right there. It’s just ridiculous. His rationale? “Let’s see what killed him.” With Scottsdale PD watching and not intervening.

    They eventually find what looks like some semen on Bob’s inner thigh. In their hoopla over Carpenter they claim he murdered him and masturbated over him. I mean seriously? These guys are horrible investigators. The flakey matter was not collected, of course. Yet another blunder. However the idea of Carpenter masterbating on Bob’s corpse, inner thigh only (while he still is in the fetal position mind you-how is this possible?) and then pulling the sheet back over him, then placing a symbolism chord around his neck sounds ludicrous. Because it is.

    Dean initially becomes suspicious when Carpenter calls the apartment to talk to Bob upon arriving in California. Dean believes the fact Carpenter doesn’t seem worried or ask what’s going on is cover for him as a murder, believing “he wanted to revisit the crime scene”. However with Bob’s lifestyle and their bromance he probably would’ve preferred to talk to Bob first and not say anything that might get Bob in any trouble if there was something going on. It makes normal sense with what Bob was doing (married women, photos, videos, etc.). Also if Carpenter was the killer why would he immediately call after returning home, wouldn’t he not at all?

    The Scottsdale PD hence focus totally on Carpenter and cease looking at anyone else. They even…get this…seek a psychic meditator. Interviewing her as a credible criminal pathologist. This women, whom claims when her psychic abilities bring her “deeper” and she might be able to provide information. This woman eventually disappears. I mean these guys are beyond terrible.

    When questioned, Carpenter claims that he awoke and realized he had mistaken the time of his flight and thus was running late, he was witnessed by hotel staff rushing and related he didn’t have time to go by the apartment to get the “Fever” video or the shorts. This statement by Carpenter was one Scottsdale PD looked at very suspiciously and for good reason, yet this isn’t uncommon as people rush to flights all the time, miss them or are running late for them. To strictly focus on Carpenter was a mistake.

    Their biggest hook of suspicion eventually is a picture of Carpenter’s rental car that has a small piece of matter they claimed was brain tissue. But could be anything as it was not collected, again–of course. They literally hinge their latter case on Carpenter to one photograph. They do collect samples from the car-a small blood sample from a door, which is Bob’s blood type and later champion on a 2019 T.V. special in Arizona that “this” is going to nail Carpenter to the wall definitely. When tested it’s proven thru DNA not to be from Crane…oops.

    These guys were bumbling idiots. They never processed the crime scene with any integrity. They allowed people to wander in and out. They interviewed Berry in the apartment with the corpse feet away, they also had her answer the phone when any calls came in. They didn’t test for fingerprints. They did a makeshift autopsy on the bed. T hey took photos after people had entered the area and moved stuff around. Just a mess. Worse they always assumed Berry’s innocence. Never once considering her a suspect or having motive, even though every aspect of this murder she has some relation in being around or in place. Just ridiculous.

    This is what I believe happened to Crane.

    Bob was supposed to be murdered at the theater when he left, most likely by gunshot or something quick while he changed his tire. Carpenter thwarted that by being around. The killer has to now get creative.

    The killer then entered Bob’s apartment using Berry’s key and looks around for items he wants to take with a flashlight, however the killer misses the photos in the makeshift lab in Bob’s bedroom bathroom as it was only known to Crane and Carpenter, but not to anyone else including Berry. The killer can’t go thru the video tapes as they are not labeled nor has the time or means to do so.

    Bob comes home and the killer sees his car lights thru the window shade as he parks in the front of the apartment. Seeing his silhouette walking up to the door from the spare room window. The killer then hides in spare room, which Bob never uses, and waits.

    Bob tosses off his clothes and makes the “Fever” tape for Bob Jr, he also talks to Carpenter on the phone. Bob goes to sleep. Berry calls Bob, most likely to see if he was still alive and to call the killer after then murder. Bob answers with Berry making an excuse why she called, asking about what time the appointment that morning was. Bob opens his day planner confirming the appointment time and also scratches out taking Carpenter to the airport. Bob places his glasses on the dayplanner and goes back to sleep.

    The killer creeps out of the spare room, pipe in hand and murders Crane with blows to the head. Due to the shock, Bob’s body starts to spasm and convulse. The killer thinking on his feet cuts a chord from the video equipment by the rear sliding door and pulls the pillow back (the pillow was found pulled away by the killer after the murder back toward the wall however by then a large swath of blood was on it) to wrap the chord around Crane’s neck to strangle him to death. However when he does, he realizes Bob is motionless and has died. The killer then contacts or receives contact from another person with the telephone afterwards wiped clean of prints…even Bob’s.

    The killer goes to the front door and let’s the accomplice in whom most likely was Berry. Leaving blood on the front door. The door is relocked for security. Both individuals look thru the apartment and take items like the contents of Bob’s bag and photos of women, To include Berry as they know where and what they are looking for.

    When dawn begins to show the killer looks out the spare window again this time seeing two movers outside in the parking lot at 4:00 a.m. The killer and accomplice then exit the back door but not before leaving the front door unlocked so Berry can “find” Crane later. This gives Berry the red herring she needs to avoid initial suspicion.

    That’s the most likely scenario based on everything. I firmly believe Berry assisted in Crane’s murder. I am lost they never looked at her at all. Have a good day and I hope this was informative

    Reply
  • May 2, 2020 at 6:39 pm
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    I would love to hear this case on your podcast!! Hope it happens

    Reply
  • March 23, 2020 at 12:11 am
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    Hi, I was living in Scottsdale when Bob Crane was murdered and to stay that the Scottsdale Police Department screwed up the investigation is a huge understatement. Among the many mistakes they made was not keeping people out of the crime screen. His co-star Victoria Berry was allowed back inside and is alleged to have slipped photos and/or a video of her doing it with Bob Crane in the bag she is carrying in the photo of her as she leaves. Also, the reporter who worked the crime beat for a local radio station was so incensed at the Scottsdale Police that for years at any Scottsdale Police press conference he attended when they asked if there were any last questions he would reply, “Yes, who killed Bob Crane?”

    Reply

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