More than five decades later, the federal law enforcement agency announced Friday that it’s identified the man considered one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives. But he died of lung cancer in May of this year, aged 73. Theodore John Conrad, 20 old at that time, stole the equivalent of $1.7 million today in one of the biggest bank robberies in Cleveland in July 1969, at his workplace at the Society National Bank. He was inspired by an 1968 Steve McQueen’s film about a bank robbery. Conrad saw the film more than half a dozen times. For decades, investigators have chased tips on Conrad’s whereabouts in various states, including California, Hawaii, Texas and Oregon. He had been living in Boston since 1970 under the name Thomas Randele. Authorities were able to confirm Randele was Conrad from the similarities in documents he submitted in the 1960s and ones submitted in the past 10 years, including when he filed for bankruptcy in 2014. On his death bed this year, Randele told his family he was Theodore Conrad and what he had done in 1969 in Cleveland. They did not notify authorities.
The case of Conrad’s whereabouts was originally handled by U.S. Marshal John K. Elliott who died in 2020. “Everything in real life doesn’t always end like in the movies,” his son said now. Elliot also noted, “My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up until his death.”