Reward set to help solve 1979 homicide

On the evening of Feb. 4, 1979, three men were shot, execution-style, during a robbery at the Payless Super Drug Store on Concar Drive in San Mateo and the case was never solved.

After almost three decades, Gov. Schwarzenegger is offering a $50,000 reward to help San Mateo police close the case.

The police and the victims’ families hope the governor’s reward, along with the support of a private donator, will lead to information about the slayings, the arrest and conviction of those responsible, and emotional closure.

“We never gave up and never plan to give up,” said San Mateo Police Lt. Mike Brunicardi, who remembers the triple homicide that occurred during his first year on the job. “But sometimes people need motivation.”

The victims — 23-year-old store manager Michael Olsen and his two teenage employees, William Baumgartner and Tracy Anderson — were locking up the store when someone shot them and fled with $30,000 in stolen cash and checks.

Olson, who lived in Fremont with his wife and 1-year-old daughter, had been promoted to manager four months before he was killed.

The police arrested a suspect, but the judge released him as there was not enough evidence. The suspect is said to have moved to Mexico.

“Something of that magnitude doesn’t happen often in San Mateo,” said Bertha Sanchez, former San Mateo planning commissioner, who remembers the 1979 murder. “This would be a shock to the community even today.”

The San Mateo case is the oldest of six unsolved California homicides that received reward money from the governor this year.

A press conference was to be held this morning at the San Mateo Police Station with some of the victims’ family members to announce the formation of a Web site and increased effort to find the killers.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

There are pandemic-era options for movie lovers who want to watch outdoors

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced Peterson to death March 16 for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. (California Department of Corrections via Getty Images/TNS)
Prosecutors to retry penalty phase of Scott Peterson trial

2003 discovery of Laci Peterson’s body led to sensational high-profile murder trial of husband

Most Read