CLEVELAND — Theodore John Conrad, one of America’s "Most Wanted" Fugitives who pulled off one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland’s history, has been identified following his death as a man living under a fictitious name outside a Boston suburb, the United States Marshals announced Friday.
At 20 years old on Friday, July 11, 1969, authorities said Conrad walked into his job at Society National Bank, located at 127 Public Square, as an ordinary bank teller and walked out a criminal with $215,000, which is equivalent to over $1.7 million in 2021.
The bank didn’t notice the money was stolen until after Conrad failed to report to work that following Monday, and at that point, Conrad had a two-day head start to get away and build a new life.
Since that day in 1969 when he vanished without a trace, investigators have been perplexed by the case. Conrad was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries.” For 50 years, investigators pursued leads in Washington D.C., Inglewood, California, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii.
The case was cold until this week when U.S. Marshals in Cleveland went to Boston and positively identified a man by the fictitious name Thomas Randele, of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
Conrad had been living in the Boston suburb since 1970. He moved to Boston near the same location where the original Steve McQueen film “The Thomas Crown Affair” was filmed, which investigators called ironic because a year before the robbery in Cleveland, Conrad bragged to his friends about how easy it would be to take the money from the bank, even telling them he planned to do it.
Investigators matched documents that Conrad completed in the 1960s with documents Randele completed, including documents from when he filed for bankruptcy in Boston Federal Court in 2014.
Additional investigative information helped authorities positively identity Randele as Conrad.
Randele died of lung cancer in May 2021 using the birth date of July 10, 1947. His real birth date was July 10, 1949. Conrad would have been 71 when he died.
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot said the case was personal for his family. His father, deputy marshal, investigated the Conrad case for years until his retirement in 1990.
“This is a case I know all too well. My father, John K. Elliott, was a dedicated career Deputy United States Marshal in Cleveland from 1969 until his retirement in 1990. My father took an interest in this case early because Conrad lived and worked near us in the late 1960s. My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020. We were able to match some of the documents that my father uncovered from Conrad’s college days in the 1960s with documents from Randele that led to his identification. I hope my father is resting a little easier today knowing his investigation and his United States Marshals Service brought closure to this decades-long mystery. Everything in real life doesn’t always end like in the movies," Elliot said.
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