An Ohio bank teller disappeared with a bag of $215,000 — and it took more than five decades to track him down, officials said.
Theodore John Conrad was working at Society National Bank in Cleveland when he was accused of stealing the haul in 1969.
The missing money — which is worth more than $1.7 million today — wasn’t noticed until a few days later, when Conrad didn’t show up for work, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release on Friday, Nov. 12.
During the search for Conrad, he appeared on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” as investigators followed leads from coast to coast. But officials said the case eventually grew cold.
That was until early November, when the U.S. Marshals Service said it identified the man accused of robbing the Cleveland bank. He reportedly had settled in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, under the fake name Thomas Randele.
“He had been living an unassuming life in the Boston suburb since 1970,” the federal government said in its news release. “Ironically, he moved to Boston near the location where the original ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ movie was filmed.”
It turns out, “The Thomas Crown Affair” was a film Conrad had watched repeatedly, according to U.S. Marshals. The 1968 Steve McQueen movie depicts a businessman involved in a bank heist. It was remade in 1999 with Pierce Brosnan.
“He was a darer, so to speak,” said Peter J. Elliott, U.S. Marshal for Northern Ohio, according to The New York Times. “After seeing that movie, I believe he thought, ‘Hey, what if I do this and get away with this?’ I really think it was a challenge for him to be able to do it.”
In real life, officials said they finally found Conrad after comparing his documents to ones that were filled out under the name Thomas Randele, including federal bankruptcy records. Elliot said his dad John had gathered evidence early in the case and continued wanting answers 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,” Elliott said in the Nov. 12 news release. “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.”
Conrad, who had been using another birthdate, was 71 years old when he died of lung cancer in May, officials said.