By: Sophia Powell
Since 1969, the whereabouts of the robber of the Society National Bank of Cleveland has remained a mystery, until now. A 20-year-old man (at the time) by the name of Theodore John Conrad stole $215,000 which is equivalent to $1.7 million in the modern-day. Theodore had shown up to work on July 11, 1969, and shortly after, he left with a brown paper bag filled with the money. Conrad’s colleagues didn’t even notice the money was gone until the following Monday when Conrad didn’t show up to work, and none of them ever saw him again. According to The United States Marshals Service (USMS), Conrad had been bragging to friends about how easy it would be to steal money from the bank, and that he would be planning to do so. Conrad’s friends also mentioned that he was obsessed with the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair, which is about a millionaire that steals money for fun. Since Conrad fled Ohio and outran the police for more than 50 years, his case was featured on shows like “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries”. But, as of last week, this cold case was solved. A man from Lynnfield, Massachusetts died at the age of 71 from lung cancer in May of 2021 under the name of Thomas Randele, and U.S. Marshals and government authorities had concluded that this was indeed Theodore Conrad. Authorities came to this conclusion because of similarities in documents that he submitted in the 60s and ones from the past 10 years including when he filed for bankruptcy back in 2014. Coincidentally, Conrad had moved to the same town in Massachusetts where The Thomas Crown Affair was filmed and he had lived there since 1970. According to authorities, Conrad lived an “unassuming life” in Lynnfield, legally changing his date of birth from July 10, 1947, to July 10, 1949. U.S. Marshal John K. Elliot had taken a particular fascination in this case when it originally occurred in 1969, and although he retired in 1999, his son, U.S. Marshal Peter J. Elliot says, “My father took an interest in this case early because Conrad lived and worked near us in the late 1960s. My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death in 2020.” Peter Elliot found one of his dad’s old files of a bankruptcy case in 2014, the defendant had the last name Randele (Conrad’s fake last name) this essentially helped lead the investigation to Massachusetts where they later found out that Theodore Conrad had passed away a year before.