Theodore John Conrad was an unsuccessful businessman living in a suburb north of Boston, Massachusetts. After a career selling luxury cars, Conard died in May 2021 at the age of 71 without any money to his name. And in his final days, as he lost his battle against cancer, he revealed the truth to his wife Kathy and daughter Ashley about how he successfully pulled out one of the biggest bank robberies in American history, making off with the equivalent of $1.7 million in today’s money when he stole cash from a bank in Cleveland, Ohio fifty-two years ago.

Conrad worked as a bank teller at the Society National Bank in Cleveland. Because of his insider knowledge, he was able to gain access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. During his time at the bank, Conard often bragged to his friends about how easy it would be for him to steal money from the institution. Then, one Friday evening, he walked out of the bank with $215,000 in cold, hard cash.

He used a paper bag to complete his bank robbery. On that Friday, he walked away with 250 $20 bills, 1,200 $50 bills, and 1,500 $100 bills.

The bank was utterly clueless that they had been robbed. They only realized that Conrad had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars after they checked the vault when he didn’t show up for work as scheduled on Monday. Because they were so slow to realize the theft, Conrad, who was twenty years old at the time, had a full weekend to make his escape from Cleveland and start a new life for himself.

Authorities had no idea where Conrad went after stealing all that money. The news reported that he might have gone to Hawaii or Paris, or even California.

When authorities started interviewing some of Conrad’s coworkers, they told the investigators that the 20-year-old bank taller had become obsessed with the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair. In the movie, a bank executive pulls off a bank heist worth millions of dollars. Unlike the movie, in which the executive gets hunted by authorities, Conrad was able to pull off the robbery without getting caught.

The closest investigators came to finding Conrad was when they interviewed an Ohio couple three months after the robbery. They were chatting with a young man at the bar at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki.

“As soon as they mentioned Cleveland, Ohio, he got up, said oh excuse me, I have to use the restroom, he departed,” David Siler, Deputy U.S. Marshal with the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, said to KITV.

When the couple returned home from Hawaii, they recognized Conrad in the news.

“He had an apartment. Apparently, he was renting that apartment, so if he was renting that apartment, that means he made contact with someone, a landlord, somebody, and he was paying cash obviously for his apartment,” Siler said. “Everything is one clue away. Everything is about one tip away. There’s somebody out there that Conrad has made contact with over the years.”

Although Conrad was featured on America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries, he evaded law enforcement for five decades.

Last week, United States Marshals from Cleveland, Ohio, traveled to Massachusetts where they confirmed that Thomas Randele of Lynnfield was the fictitious identity of Theodore J. Conrad. He had lived in the area since the 1970s. He died broke.

Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.