Published: 12 November 2021
A man who worked as a bank teller in Cleveland and robbed his employer of $215,000 52 years ago has finally been unmasked by US Marshals – six months after he died. Theodore John Conrad died at the age of 71 in a north Boston suburb in May of this year, having turned his hand to selling luxury cars as a career, and later ending up broke. His wife Kathy and daughter Ashley only found out their father’s secret during his final days, as he succumbed to cancer. Conrad successfully pulled off one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland, Ohio history making off with what would now be the equivalent of more than $1.7 million in today’s money. He did it all from the inside as he walked into his job as a teller at the Society National Bank in Cleveland, where he had access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash every single day. Conrad told pals that stealing from the bank would be very easy – and later made good on his promise after walking out on it with a huge stash of cash one Friday evening.
At the age of 20, Theodore John Conrad walked into his job as a bank teller and stole $215,000
A photofit, seen left, was produced to help the public track him down after claims he’d been spotted in Hawaii in 2017… although ultimately it looked northing like Conrad
Conrad, pictured, left, in a wanted photo, while he is seen right, in a more recent picture
He walked out with $215,000 in cash in a paper bag on a Friday evening and disappeared with 1,500 $100 bills, 1,200 $50s and 250 $20s. The robbery was only discovered after Conrad, who was 20 at the time, didn’t show up for work the following Monday. When the bank checked their fault, they found the cash together with their employee to be missing having had two full days to make a clean getaway. The stunning theft sparked a news frenzy, and competing claims of where Conrad had disappeared to, with Paris, California and Hawaii among the suspected destinations. Co-workers that Conrad had worked alongside told authorities how he had become obsessed with the 1968 Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair. The movie tells the story of the titular fictional billionaire, who steals just for fun. Conrad had seen it more than a half dozen times even bragging to his friends about how easy it would be to take money from the bank, and that he planned to do something similar. Three months after the robbery, an Ohio couple were chatting with a young man in a bar at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki. Law enforcement believe that man was Conrad.
Conrad worked at the Society National Bank on Public Square in Cleveland
He left his job on a Friday in 1969 with $215,000 in cash in the form of 1,500 $100 bills, 1,200 $50s and 250 $20s
Conrad had been obsessed with the film The Thomas Crown Affair which details a brazen robbery and he vowed to pull off something similar at the bank. Actor Steve McQueen who starred in the 1968 film is pictured
Conrad changed his name, lifestyle and the details of his past – he had a family, became a local golf pro and sold luxury cars in a small town north of Boston
‘As soon as they mentioned Cleveland, Ohio, he got up, said oh excuse me, I have to use the restroom, he departed,’ David Siler, Deputy U.S. Marshal with the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force said to KITV. When the Hawaii couple got home, they recognized the man from earlier news stories about the crime. ‘He had an apartment. Apparently, he was renting that apartment so if he was renting that apartment, that means he made contact with someone, a landlord, somebody and he was paying cash obviously for his apartment,’ Siler said. ‘Everything is one clue away. Everything is about one tip away. There’s somebody out there that Conrad has made contact with over the years.’ But the fugitive investigation into Theodore ‘Ted’ Conrad puzzled investigators for more than five decades. Conrad was been featured on America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries while investigators chased leads across the country, including Washington D.C., Inglewood, California, western Texas, Oregon, and Honolulu, Hawaii. The case remained cold until this past week when United States Marshals from Cleveland, Ohio travelled to Boston, Massachusetts and positively identified Thomas Randele of Lynnfield, Massachusetts as the fictitious name of Theodore J. Conrad.
Conrad had been living an unassuming life in the Boston suburb since 1970. His home is pictured
He had been living an unassuming life in the Boston suburb since 1970 close to the location where the original Thomas Crown Affair movie was filmed. The stolen money didn’t last long and he had struggled financially in recent years, according to Cleveland.com. He confessed his secret to his family days before he died from lung cancer. An obituary reveals how Conrad would split his time between Florida and Boston, where he was the Assistant Golf Pro and Teaching Pro at Pembroke Country Club. Aside from golf, he also loved vehicles and had a successful career in luxury car sales spanning nearly 40 years. ‘He was also an excellent cook who loved watching any and all cooking shows, and enjoyed testing out new recipes on his wife and daughter, always asking ‘So, can I make this again?’ at the end of every meal,’ the obituary reads. He also had a wife, Kathy and daughter, Ashley Randele.
Numerous news articles were written about the brazen heist but Conrad was never caught
‘This past week, we identified Thomas Randele as Theodore J. Conrad. He led an unassuming life in the suburbs of Boston, was very well liked in his community. There are a few things that led us there,’ said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot during a Friday press conference. United States Marshals investigators from Cleveland were able match documents that Conrad completed in the 1960s with documents Randele completed, including documents from when Randele filed for Bankruptcy in Boston Federal Court in 2014. Additional investigative information led Marshals to positively identify Thomas Randele as Theodore J. Conrad. Randele died of lung cancer in May of 2021 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts using a date of birth as July 10, 1947. His real date of birth was July 10, 1949, and Conrad would have been 71 at the time of his death. A glowing obituary was published online – but made no mention of his criminal past. Conrad’s widow and daughter have declined to comment on his past antics.
U.S. Marshall’s finally tracked him down within the last week but Conrad had died in May at the age of 71 from lung cancer
‘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,’ said Elliott. ‘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.’