Atwater city councilman's online alter ego a violent one

September 4, 2010 

ATWATER -- Councilman Nelson Crabb's association with gore and violence has spread into the virtual world of violent online gaming.

The activity has raised little concern with city officials. Crabb, a retired police officer, is known for carrying a concealed firearm and once sent photos of dead and dying men gunned-down by an off-duty officer to city officials.

A July 30 "Loose Lips" column ran in the Sun-Star exposed Crabb's activity on the social networking website Facebook. His gaming has continued since then.

In the game "Mafia Wars," Crabb has many titles. He's a "cold blooded" killer, a "Street Thug," a "Master Burglar" and a "robber" in the game.

Crabb also partakes in "icing" people, and as of June 23, his body count is up to 1,159, according to posts on his Facebook wall.

The posts on Crabb's Facebook wall don't show blood and gore, but some descriptions of game activity are graphic.

"Nelson helped Michael Dispose of a Body and wants you to help too," according to an April 17 post on Crabb's Facebook wall.

Other posts even relate to city business.

"Nelson is working hard to finish the Shake Down (of) a City Council Member job and is in need of a whole lot of Sets of Illegal Transaction Records from his Mafia!" according to a July 2 post.

Some posts refer to blackmail.

"Nelson is working hard to finish the Blackmail (of) the District Attorney job and is in need of a whole lot of Sets of Blackmail Photos from his Mafia!" according to a post from Tuesday.

Crabb didn't return calls from the Sun-Star.

Mayor Joan Faul hasn't seen or read the material on Crabb's Facebook page and doesn't know much about the game, she said.

"We all have our own standards from which we work from," she said.

Assistant City Manager Stan Feathers does have a Facebook page, but rarely uses it and is not familiar with its games, he said.

What Crabb does with his personal time is his business, Feathers added.

"Some people believe those kind of things are cathartic," he said. "People play games all the time -- games are not reality. Would you criticize someone for playing Xbox?"

Crabb has received invitations to play the more benign game "Farmville," but, at least for now, he's sticking with the excitement of Mafia Wars.

In fact, one of Crabb's Facebook "likes" is "Not Playing Farmville."

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsun-star.com.

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