After a 52-year search, the notorious Cleveland bank robber was discovered to be a deceased Massachusetts man

Following his death six months ago, a bank robber who stole $215,000 from a Cleveland bank in 1969 was definitively identified by US Marshalls last week.

On Friday, July 11, 1969, Theodore John Conrad, then 20 years old, came for work as a bank teller at Society National Bank in Cleveland, Ohio. According to a press statement from the US Marshalls, Conrad escaped with a paper bag containing $215,000 and a two-day head start on law enforcement at the end of the day, with the bank slated to close for the weekend. In 2021, the payment will be comparable to $1.7 million.

Conrad was "obsessed" with the 1968 Steve McQueen picture "The Thomas Crown Affair" at the time of the crime, according to police. According to Rotten Tomatoes, "bored millionaire Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) devises and executes a great plot to steal a bank without having to do any of the work himself."

According to US Marshalls, Conrad had seen the movie at least a half-dozen times. "From there, he boasted to his buddies about how simple it would be to withdraw money from the bank, even admitting that he intended to do it."

Conrad vanished, and a nationwide manhunt ensued. Authorities followed leads in California, Washington, DC, Hawaii, western Texas, and Oregon, but the searches turned up empty, U.S. Marshalls say.

Conrad had stumped investigators for over fifty years, and America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries featured his story.

According to the press release, US Marshalls positively identified the recently deceased Thomas Randele of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, as Theodore John Conrad this week.

Marshalls examined paperwork signed by Conrad in the 1960s to court filings signed by Randele, including records from his 2014 bankruptcy filing in Boston Federal Court. Because the examination yielded a match, police were able to positively identify Randele as Conrad.

"He has been living an ordinary life in a Boston suburb since 1970," according to a news statement from the United States Marshall Service. "Ironically, he moved to Boston near the filming location of the original Thomas Crown Affair."

According to Marshalls, Randele chose the date July 10, 1947, for his new pseudonym, which is exactly two years before his real birthdate on July 10, 1949. Following a struggle with lung cancer, the elusive bank robber died in May of 2021.

According to his obituary on Legacy.com, the bank robber worked as a golf pro in Massachusetts and Florida while hiding his true identity. "He subsequently turned his vocational interests from golf to his second love, automobiles," according to his obituary, "and launched a successful career in luxury automotive sales that extended over 40 years." His wife and daughter are still alive.

Peter J. Elliot, a U.S. marshall for northern Ohio, says his father spent much of his life investigating the mystery of Conrad’s disappearance.

“This is a case I know all too well.” Elliot stated in the release.

"Because Conrad lived and worked near us in the late 1960s," he said, "my father took an early interest in this case." "Until his death in 2020, my father never stopped looking for Conrad and always desired closure."

 

"We were able to link some of my father's records from Conrad's undergraduate days in the 1960s with documents from Randele, which led to his identification," Elliot added.

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