Before Thomas Randele sold luxury cars and taught golf in the suburbs of Boston, before he got married and had a family, federal marshals say he was Theodore John Conrad, who pulled off one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland history.
The suspect’s disappearance was a mystery that lasted 52 years – a few months longer than he did.
Conrad was a 20-year-old bank teller at the Society National Bank in Cleveland when he walked out at the end of his workday on a Friday in 1969 with a paper bag containing $215,000, the equivalent of more than $1.7m today.
The theft wasn’t discovered until a few days later, and Conrad was never seen again.
Authorities said Conrad was obsessed with the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, in which Steve McQueen played a millionaire businessman who treats bank robbery as a sport. Conrad told friends taking from the bank would be easy, even indicating plans to do so.
The case was featured on shows like America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries and investigators chased leads all over the country.
Federal marshals said marshals from Cleveland went to Boston earlier this month and confirmed that Conrad had been living “an unassuming life” there since 1970, under the name Thomas Randele and in a suburb close to where The Thomas Crown Affair was filmed.
The US marshals service of the northern district of Ohio said investigators matched documents Conrad completed in the 1960s with documents completed by Randele, including a bankruptcy filing from 2014.
“Additional investigative information led marshals to positively identifying Thomas Randele as Theodore J Conrad,” marshals said.
Thomas Randele died of lung cancer in May in Lynnfield, 马萨诸塞州, with a given date of birth of 10 七月 1947. His real date of birth was 10 七月 1949, and Conrad would have been 71 at the time of his death, prosecutors said.
US attorney Peter Elliott said his father, a career deputy US marshal in Cleveland from 1969 until his retirement in 1990, “never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020”.
Elliott said documents his father unearthed from Conrad’s college days helped with the identification, but he would not say exactly how he found out about Randele.
“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 said in a statement. “Everything in real life doesn’t always end like in the movies.”
Cleveland.com reported that Randele had a family, became a golf pro, sold luxury cars and “was a fixture in a small town”. An obituary said he got married in 1982 and had one child.
Charges of embezzlement and falsifying bank records remain against Conrad in US district court in Cleveland but will soon be dropped, Elliott said.
“Conrad was quiet,” he told Cleveland.com. “He was friendly, and he was well-known in the community. He just wasn’t who he said he was.”