- BBC News World
The fugitive behind one of the most notorious bank robberies in US history has finally been identified after 52 years of searching, US officials have announced.
Ted Conrad was working at the Society National Bank in Cleveland, Ohio, when he robbed his boss in July 1969.
He then disappeared with US $ 215,000, which today would be the equivalent of US $ 1.7 million.
After that, the fugitive lived a peaceful and unpretentious life, according to the US Marshals Service.
Conrad, who died last May from lung cancer, was only 20 years old when he committed the theft.
The perfect crime
Conrad is said to have taken advantage of the bank’s mediocre security and walked out with all the money stuffed inside a brown paper bag when his office closed on a Friday night.
When the other bank employees realized there was a shortage of money, Conrad had disappeared.
His escape sparked a search that has lasted more than half a century and has been recounted on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries (America’s Most Wanted Unsolved Mysteries).
According to the Marshals Service, Conrad had told his friends about his plans to rob the bank and boasted of how easy it would be.
Apparently he was obsessed with the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Steve Mcqueen in 1969, in which he commits a perfect robbery.
Conrad saw her more than a dozen times during his preparation for the robbery.
Authorities say that after he disappeared, Conrad changed his name to Thomas Randele and fled to Washington DC and Los Angeles, before finally settling in a suburb of Boston, about 1,000 kilometers from the crime scene.
Investigators say he subsequently lived a quiet and unassuming life, and the newspaper The New York Times reported that he had spent the past 40 years working as a golf pro and at a used car dealership.
The case went cold for decades until investigators, alerted by the appearance of Randele’s obituary in a newspaper, were able to compare the documents he had filed during the 1960s with other papers he had recently completed.
Ironically, those papers included a bankruptcy case that Randele filed in a Boston court in 2014.
Marshal Peter Elliott was one of the lead investigators on the case. He inherited it from his father John, who had been obsessed with finding out what had become of the intrepid thief.
“My father never stopped looking for Conrad and he always wanted to close the case until his death in 2020, “Elliott said.
“I hope my father is resting a little easier today knowing that his investigation and his United States Marshals Service put an end to this decades-long mystery.”
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