By Daniel Uria | UPI |
Nov. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Marshals Service tracked down a man who posed as a bank teller to pull off the largest bank heist in Cleveland’s history more than 50 years after he vanished into obscurity.
Theodore John Conrad, who showed up for work as a teller at an Ohio bank in July 1969 and walked out the end of his shift with $215,000 — the equivalent of more than $1.7 million today — had been living in Boston under the name Thomas Randele, the Marshals Service announced in a statement Friday.
Conrad made off with the money at the end of his shift on a Friday and the bank did not notice the money was missing from the vault until he failed to showed up the following Monday.
“From there Conrad, and the money he stole, had a two-day head start on law enforcement,” the Marshals Service said.
Randele died of lung cancer in May 2021, using a date of birth as July 10, 1947. Conrad’s actual date of birth was July 10, 1949, and he would have been 71 at the time of his death.
His case remained cold until U.S. Marshals from Cleveland traveled to Boston last week and positively identified Randale as Conrad, by matching documents Conrad completed in the 1960s with documents Randle completed, including Randele filing for Bankruptcy in Boston Federal Court in 2014.
The Marshals Service said Conrad lived an “unassuming life” in the Boston suburb of Lynnfield, Mass. since 1970 near the location where the film The Thomas Crown Affair, in which a millionaire steals more than $2 million from a Boston bank for sport, was filmed.
The Marshals Service said Conrad “became obsessed” with the film about a year before the Cleveland robbery.
“Conrad saw it more than a dozen times,” they said. “From there he bragged to his friends about how easy it would be to take money from the bank and even told them he planned to do so.”
Following his disappearance, Conrad’s story was featured on America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries as investigators followed leads throughout the country including in Washington, D.C., Inglewood, California, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii.
The case also carried over between two generations of investigators, as Peter J. Elliot, U.S. marshal for Northern Ohio, said his father, John K. Elliot, took an interest in the case while working deputy U.S. marshal in Cleveland from 1969 until 1990 because Conrad lived and worked near his family in the late 1960s.
“My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020,” said Elliot.
“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,” he added. “Everything in real life doesn’t always end like in the movies.”