Wow, there is a lot of speculation and bad info in this post. To be honest I stumbled on this post and no longer sell/collect/deal anything Pinball related so the opinions are pretty worthless but I thought I would just address the comments made about Bearcave.
My career is in IT and Bob's was in accounting but we got caught up with the whole pinball craze and basically lived and breathed pinball for a few years.
During that time we shopped Pinballs for high end sellers like Chad Keller and Anytime Amusements to name a couple which was a full time job in of itself because the Keller Pinballs were imports that were in very bad shape.
Before Bearcave we worked at IPB one week on one week off because we lived in St Louis. We lived in a few of Genes houses for free but made 9.00 her hour each. We were basically answering phones and finding parts for distributors along with making assemblies (Everything from Switches to Ramps). Everyone else that worked at IPB were pretty clueless about pinballs and parts so when we started we made tons of suggestions on parts to make but a lot of them never got made for one reason or another.
It got to where driving all that way every other week wasn't making the bills so after getting denied a wage increase we offered Gene to sell parts for him for supplemental income. He agreed and we started Bearcave Games. We had no idea how fast that would take off because we never took into account that the distributors called us to find parts so people figured out they could cut out the time it took for distributors to find things by contacting us directly. This pissed off a few distributors in the process and I think it was a bad idea in hindsight but it kept our Pinball hobby going.
Then came BBB. Gene came to us one day and said I have all the parts diagrams need to make BBB. All I need is for you to run the whole part manufacturing side and assembly but I will hire some people later for final assembly when we get to that. For that you will receive your own BBB special made for you. We agreed because we got to be a part of assembling a rare game. The one with the green rails was supposed to be ours. We also were the PR for BBB moderating a Forum.
In hindsight between everything we were doing with pinball and our daily lives it was starting to take it's toll. We were very slow getting parts out just because we had put too much stuff on our plate and in the end we found out he had promised our machine to someone else it was the straw that broke the camels back. We burnt out so hard that we quit IPB and less than a month later sold or was selling all our pins and personal parts we had laying around. IPB was pretty mad and Kim was spreading some lies about us stealing but in the end we proved to her we weren't and never heard from them again. The real reason she thought we were stealing for awhile was when we first started we were buying parts for us and our friends directly from Kim and to keep it on the down low from the distributors she would write the receipt out like she was selling to Gene. Later she knew we got parts from her but she couldn't find the receipts so we came up with our copies of the ones with Genes name on them.
This post is too long already so to sum up.
No, we didn't steal anything from IPB EVER
We may have been a dick to some other people because we didn't trust Gene and certainly not anyone that worked for him.
We never could agree with the family what to make or how much to make of something because they frankly never acted like they believed us. We did get the
SS Bones made which was one of the things I am proud to have begged them to make.
We were slow getting parts out but we meant well.
We loved working on BBB and meeting everyone but it was too much in the end.
Oh and Bob committed suicide in 2011 so I don't imagine you would get a comment from him.