A man who became one of America’s most wanted refugees when he robbed a bank in Ohio more than 50 years ago was finally identified by U.S. marshals – six months after he died, officials said Friday.
Theodore John Conrad was 20 and was working as a treasurer at the Society National Bank in Cleveland when, on a Friday in July 1969, he carried out one of the largest robberies in the city’s history by quietly filling a paper bag with $ 215,000 in cash and leaving.
It was not until the following Monday, when Conrad did not show up for work, that the bank checked its box and discovered that the cash – equivalent to more than $ 1.7 million in 2021 – was missing.
At the time, the former employee already had a two-day lead over law enforcement – and they would never catch him.
The modest bank teller had been obsessed with the robbery film “The Thomas Crown Affair” from 1968 with Steve McQueen in the lead role. In the movie, which Conrad had seen more than a dozen times, McQueen robs a bank in Boston for about $ 2 million with a team. Officials said Conrad bragged to his friends about how easy it would be to rob his workplace, and even told them about his plans.
His case became cold and avoided investigators for 52 years. It became part of the Cleveland story and was shown on the TV shows “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries”.
Detectives tracked down Conrad’s whereabouts across the country, including Washington DC, California, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii, the U.S. Marshal Service said in a statement.
It turns out in all these years that Conrad had lived under the name Thomas Randele in the picturesque Boston suburb of Lynnfield, Massachusetts. He had had a family and worked as a golf and tennis professional and car salesman, according to Randele’s obituary.
The U.S. Marshals said they positively identified Randele as Conrad two weeks ago.
He died of lung cancer in May 2021 at the age of 71 years.
Peter J. Elliott, U.S. Marshal of Northern Ohio, said he knew the case “too well” after his father spent more than 20 years investigating the robbery.
“My father, John K. Elliott, was a dedicated career deputy to the United States Marshal in Cleveland from 1969 until his retirement in 1990,” he said in a statement.
Elliott said his father “never stopped searching for Conrad and would always have closed until his death in 2020.”
“I hope my father rests a little easier today as he knows his investigation, and his U.S. Marshals Service brought an end to this decades-long mystery,” he added.
“Everything in real life does not always end like in the movies.”