December 6, 2021

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One of the country’s most wanted fugitives identified after more than 50 years – CBS News

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The fugitive behind one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland, Ohio, history has been identified as Thomas Randele, the United States Marshals Service announced Friday. Randele, who went by the fictitious name of Theodore John Conrad, died of lung cancer in May, officials said. 

“The fugitive investigation into Theodore ‘Ted’ Conrad has perplexed many investigators over the past 50 years,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement

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Ted Conrad WBZ-TV

On Friday July 11, 1969, the Ohio bank robber went to work at the Society National Bank as an ordinary bank teller. That day, the 20-year-old stole $215,000, which is the equivalent to $1.7 million today. The bank realized the money was missing from its vault the following Monday morning when Conrad failed to come to work.

According to the Marshals Service, Conrad reportedly watched the film “The Thomas Crown Affair” from Steve McQueen in 1968, which is based on a bank robbery, more than a half a dozen times a year before the notorious heist. Conrad allegedly told his friends about his plans to rob the bank and bragged about how easy it would be to do so. 

Conrad’s case was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries.” Investigators searched for leads across the country. The case remained cold for 52 years, until this past week. 

Investigators said they were able to match documents from Conrad in the 1960s with documents from Randele, who in 2014 filed for bankruptcy. The Marshals Service this week identified Conrad and Randele as the same person. 

Randele had moved to Lynnfield, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, in 1970, near where the McQueen movie he obsessed over was filmed. He lived an unassuming life, the Marshals Service said. He was 71 when he died in May. No other details about his life were included in the Marshals Service announcement.

John K. Elliott helped investigate the case, uncovering documents from Conrad’s college days that led to Randele’s identification. 

Elliot’s son, U.S. Marshal for Northern Ohio Peter J. Elliott, said his father “never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020.”

“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,” Peter said in a statement. “Everything in real life doesn’t always end like in the movies.”

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