Fred Meyer is a chain of box stores in the Western U.S. and Alaska. They are famous for carrying a little bit of everything — from groceries, to clothing, to tools. All sorts of tools. You can buy generators, snow shovels or chainsaws. Or lawn mowers. Or stock up on batteries. They are one-stop shopping personified.
In November, 1976, while his parents were visiting for the holidays, Bob found himself at a Fred Meyer store in Anchorage. While roaming the aisles, he spotted a chainsaw. Actually, a bunch of chainsaws. And he thought about his father.
Five Finger Discount
“I looked at them [chainsaws] and remembered about five weeks previous my father and I had been cutting wood for our fireplace and his remarking three or four times how much he would like to have one (my folks live in Oregon and were visiting us for four weeks), to use when he and my mother go camping along the coast. I told my father that he would be more than welcome to take mine but he refused.
“I thought of this and all the presents my parents had given me through the years and how wonderful it would be if I could give him a chainsaw for Christmas. I also thought of course about my wife and I had just bought this summer a new home and put everything we have saved for more than nine years into.
“I guess many, many thoughts went through my mind as I looked at the saws. I wanted almost more than anything to please my father and could just imagine the expression on his face on Christmas day. If I could give him that saw.”
Bob Hansen didn’t even try to purchase that chainsaw. Nope. He pulled out an old Fred Meyer receipt and placed it on a chainsaw box. And then proceeded to walk out of the store without stopping at checkout. Someone was following him. Busted.
Getting Worse, Not Better
There was another psychological evaluation done, this time by Dr. Alan Parker of the Langdon Clinic. Dr. Parker said emotional and personality testing indicated a markedly disturbed man who was somewhat antisocial and paranoid by nature and had a relatively weak ego. There were indications of severe heterosexual conflicts both with a desire for women and a fear that he would not be able to relate to them.
He was, the doctor said, capable of acting out impulses and aware of many of the impulses within his personality. He had a great deal of free-floating anxiety. The retesting indicated the disintegration of his personality. That disintegration reached a psychotic or potentially high psychotic level, as well as a high schizophrenic scale, high manic scale, and high antisocial scale.
His stealing was probably obsessive, Dr. Parker revealed. But Bob had an inability to resist it and a feeling of being forced. Hence his kleptomania around the chainsaws.
That same feeling overtook him around women. Young women especially. In the years to come, he would try to relive his frustrating high school years in the most macabre way imaginable.
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.
Purchase Butcher, Baker