Man Wanted for One of Cleveland's Biggest Heists Lived in Mass. Suburb for 52 Years: U.S. Marshals
The man wanted for one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland history lived "an unassuming life" in a Massachusetts suburb for more than 50 years before his death earlier this year, according to U.S. Marshals.
Theodore "Ted" Conrad allegedly stole $215,000 from the Society National Bank in Cleveland where he worked as a teller on July 11, 1969, per a statement from the agency released Friday.
Conrad, who was 20 at the time of the alleged crime, vanished and left investigators "perplexed" for years. Five decades later, U.S. Marshals believe they have finally identified the man responsible for the crime.
Conrad, who assumed the alias Thomas Randele after the heist, moved to Lynnfield, Mass., in 1970, according to the statement. Conrad died of lung cancer in May at age 71.
Lynnfield, a suburb located north of Boston, is the setting of the 1968 Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair, in which a millionaire businessman commits a robbery for sport.
U.S. Marshals say Conrad was "obsessed" with the film and allegedly "bragged to his friends about how easy it would be to take money from the bank" if he tried. Authorities claim he even told his inner circle that "he planned to do so."
William O'Donnell, one of Conrad's former classmates, told Cleveland.com that the late fugitive "always thought of himself as being like Steve McQueen in that movie."
Another former friend, Russell Metcalf, told the outlet that he didn't believe Conrad when he told him of his plans to rob the bank on the same day he did so.
"I had no idea," Metcalf explained. "He always said the security was lax. He said it wouldn't be hard."
Peter Elliott, a U.S. Marshal for northern Ohio, said in Friday's statement that his father John Elliott was on the Conrad case during its early stages. Peter explained that the case piqued his father's interest as Conrad had both lived and worked near the Elliott family in the 1960s.
"My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020," Elliott said in the statement. "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."
Elliott told CBS Boston that he believed Conrad was "a great family man" and was friends with local police, including some federal agents. "Nobody knew his true identity," he told the station. "He was literally the man living next door that nobody really knew."
An obituary for Conrad said the man, who went by "Tom" while living in the Bay State, worked his way up the management ladder at a country club in Pembroke, Mass., before moving on to sell luxury cars at Woburn Foreign Motors, Range Rover, and Volvo for nearly 40 years.
Conrad was married to Kathy (Mahan) Randele and had one daughter, Ashley Randele. His widow told Cleveland.com that she is "still grieving the loss of my husband, who was a great man."
Metcalf echoed Kathy's sentiment. "Say what you will about him, but Ted was a good person," he told Cleveland.com. "I kept hoping that I would see him, but now I'll have to wait."