Q: Was the murder of Dick Crabbe at Comptons market on Stockton Boulevard ever solved?
Susan, Lewiston, Idaho
A: No arrests have been reported in the shooting death of longtime grocery clerk Dick Crabbe during a robbery at B&J Market on Stockton Boulevard on April 10, 1970.
The young robber, without provocation, shot and killed the 58-year-old Crabbe as Crabbe’s son and daughter-in-law looked on in horror, according to an account in The Sacramento Bee.
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The shooting occurred about 8:15 p.m., shortly before Crabbe was due to leave for dinner with his son, George.
The gunman approached Crabbe’s checkstand and placed a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine on the counter. Crabbe totaled the purchase and the man, after apparently searching his clothes for money, pulled a 6-inch .38 caliber revolver from beneath his jacket and ordered Crabbe to back away from the register.
Crabbe’s son and daughter-in-law told authorities that Crabbe immediately complied with the order, but the gunman suddenly shot Crabbe in the chest and scooped approximately $120 out of the register with his left hand.
The robber ordered the witnesses not to move and ran out the door of the market. Crabbe’s son ran to the door and locked it to prevent the gunman from re-entering, and then returned to find his father dead.
Dick Crabbe had been in the grocery business since he was 12 years old. In 1941, he had helped open the market in which he was killed, according to a story in The Bee.
The Northern California Grocer’s Association and five of its members offered a $4,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the man who killed Crabbe.