LYNNFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Thomas Randele lived in the suburbs of Lynnfield for decades, and unbeknownst to his neighbors, was actually a fugitive who had pulled off one of the largest bank heists in Cleveland, Ohio history.
His real name was Theodore John Conrad, and in 1969 he was a bank teller at Society National Bank in Cleveland that ran off with $215,000, which is valued at over $1.7 million today.
According to the U.S Marshal Service, Conrad became obsessed with a film that came out a year prior to his heist, the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair. The plot was about a millionaire businessman who robbed banks for sport. Conrad had apparently seen the movie half a dozen times and bragged to his friends about how easy it would be to take money from a bank. He even told his peers that he was planning a robbery of his own.
The case remained cold for 50 years, during that time investigators searched all across the United States and Conrad was featured on multiple cold case documentaries. Until this week, when United States Marshals positively identified Thomas Randele of Lynnfield as the notorious criminal.
Conrad had moved to Massachusetts following his heist, near the location where the original The Thomas Crown Affair was filmed. U.S Marshals discovered his identity by matching documents from Conrad's college days with papers filled in by Randele, including one filing for Bankruptcy in Boston Federal Court in 2014.
Randele died of lung cancer in May of this year, and though he had used a fake birthdate, officials said that Conrad would have been 71 at the time of his death.
Peter J. Elliot, the U.S Marshal for Northern Ohio said, "This is a case I know all too well. My father, John K. Elliot, was a dedicated career Deputy U.S Marshal in Cleveland from 1969 until his retirement in 1990. My father took an interest in this case early because Conrad lived and worked near us in the late 1960's. My father never stopped searching for Conrad and always wanted closure up to his death in 2020."
Elliot said that it was his father who uncovered the documents from the 1960's that led to Conrad's identification.
"I hope my father is resting a little easier today knowing his investigation and his U.S Marshal Service brought closure to this decades-long mystery," Elliot said, "everything in real life doesn't always end like in the movies."
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports