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52 years later, authorities identify fugitive behind one of Ohio's biggest bank heists

It was the teller all along.

The U.S. Marshals Service announced on Friday that it has finally identified the person who walked out of a Society National Bank in Cleveland on July 11, 1969, with a paper bag containing $215,000 — the equivalent of more than $1.7 million today. Theodore John Conrad, who worked as a teller at the bank, has been named as the man behind the heist. 

At the time, Conrad was only 20 years old, and he simply walked out of the bank with the money, never to return again. Because the robbery took place on a Friday, no one at the bank realized what had happened until Monday morning, when workers discovered the cash was missing from the vault. 

Earlier this month, Marshals determined that in the early 1970s, Conrad moved to Lynnfield, Massachusetts, and changed his name to Thomas Randele. As Randele, he got married, had a child, and worked as a car salesman and golf instructor. In May, he died of lung cancer at age 71. The Marshals came to this conclusion after matching paperwork Conrad filled out in the 1960s with documents Randele completed when filing for bankruptcy in 2014. 

A year before the heist, Conrad became obsessed with The Thomas Crown Affair, watching the movie multiple times, and he told friends he thought it would be easy to carry out a similar bank robbery, the Marshals said. In a statement, Marshal Peter J. Elliott said his father was also in the service, and spent years trying to solve the case. He's glad there is finally closure "to this decades-long mystery," adding, "everything in real life doesn't always end like in the movies."