In early 2014, the Nebraska Department of Transportation began to investigate the crane manufacturing company Bob Crane, a popular crane repair shop that had been operating in Omaha for nearly two decades.
The state’s Transportation Department had received numerous complaints from residents of Omaha and surrounding communities over a number of years about the company’s failure to follow its contract obligations, including providing required safety inspections.
The company’s management had also failed to comply with safety regulations, and in May 2014, Bob Crane was found dead in his Omaha home, which had been under investigation for years.
The cause of death was determined to be “natural causes,” but the exact circumstances of his death remained unclear.
After an investigation, state officials closed the investigation into the death.
In a letter sent to Bob Crane’s family, the state’s transportation director wrote that “the circumstances of Mr. Crane’s death are the most horrific and troubling in our recent history” and that “no one should ever have to face this type of loss.”
In a press release, the company said that the investigation was concluded after a review of the company and other documents and “after extensive interviews with witnesses and victims of the crime.”
At the time, Bob’s son, Jeff Crane, said that he was relieved that the company had been closed down, but also noted that “some of the other things we are dealing with are still not over.”
Crane Compositions CEO and CEO of Bob Crane Bob Crane Composits owner Bob Crane said in a statement to Polygon that he had no idea of the extent of the investigation, adding that the “most horrific event to occur in our nation’s history” was “a tragedy that should never have happened.”
The Bob Cranley murder “is the most traumatic event in Omaha’s history, a tragedy that is a national tragedy,” he wrote.
“There was no doubt that there were problems with our practices and procedures.”
According to documents and testimony obtained by Polygon, Bob was a “very high-level, very trusted executive” and had extensive experience working for the crane repair industry.
The documents also show that Bob had been accused of violating federal and state law, including “failure to keep a safe workplace and workplace environment” and “failures to perform all required safety audits.”
He also was charged with multiple felonies, including murder.
A federal grand jury returned a decision in the Crane Compositing case on April 14, 2018, charging the company with “death, unlawful killing, manslaughter, and other related charges” in the death of Bob.
Bob Crane died of a heart attack while working on the crane in 2014, and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has continued to investigate.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Bob had filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and had been receiving disability payments.
He had filed to sell his home in the summer of 2018, but a judge had denied the sale, citing a lack of collateral.
Bob had reportedly been on disability for more than a year prior to his death.
Bob was found unresponsive on April 10, 2018 in his bedroom, where he had left his wife, Mary.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
His body was wrapped in a plastic sheet and placed in a garbage bag, where his body was partially buried under a cement floor.
Bob’s death was the first of its kind in Nebraska.
The Omaha Star-Hemmer reports that Bob Crane “was well-known in Omaha, but had also been the target of numerous criminal complaints in the area.”
He was the former CEO of the crane business in Omaha.
A former crane worker, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, told the paper that Bob was “an incredibly kind man.”
The former crane operator said Bob had “worked his ass off” in his 40-year career and “never had a single complaint or complaint in his entire career.”
The worker added that Bob’s “good character” was one of the reasons he had “kept a clean house.”
“I really feel for his family,” he said.
“They’re going through a lot, they’re going to be devastated.”