Escaped bank thief manages to hide from police for over 50 years

Mystery solved! For more than a half-century, Theodore John Conrad managed to avoid capture by the authorities. All this despite the fact that he was one of the most wanted bank robbers in American history. Nobody knew what had happened to him until last week. The man appears to have died this year.

At last, much to the relief of Cleveland police, the 52-year mystery has come to an end. Conrad himself again escaped prosecution. He appeared to have died in May of this year.

Paper bag

On a Friday in 1969, Conrad, then 20 years old and working as a bank teller at Society National Bank in Cleveland, walked out at the end of his workday with a paper bag containing $215,000. An amount that would now equal as much as $1.7 million. The theft was discovered only a few days later, and no trace of Conrad was ever heard from again.

Theodore John Conrad
Theodore John Conrad. ©US Marshals Service

It is still one of the largest bank thefts in Cleveland ever. In the years that followed, the case received much attention on shows like “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries,” and investigators continued to search for the fugitive bank robber across the country.

Different identity

Only now has it become clear that he went through life as Thomas Randele all these years. Under his new identity, he became a car dealer in a Boston suburb and was an avid golfer. He married, had a child, and, according to investigators, led a modest life.

This week, American researchers from Cleveland established the link between the two individuals by comparing documents from the 1960s with documents from a bankruptcy filing in Boston federal court in 2014. That led them to identify Thomas Randele as Theodore J. Conrad positively.

For his prosecution, the discovery had little consequence. Thomas Randele died of lung cancer last May in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, with a birth date of July 10, 1947. However, his real date of birth was July 10, 1949. Conrad would have been 71 at the time of his death.

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