Bank robber dies after years on the run in double life befriending FBI agent

Bank robber dies after years on the run in double life befriending FBI agent
Ted Conrad robbed Cleveland’s Society National Bank in 1969 and lived for decades as Thomas Randele

A Boston man who died of cancer in May this year and was fondly remembered by his family and friends, was actually a fugitive on the run for over five decades after robbing a bank in 1969.

Thomas Randele, 71, whose real name according to authorities was Ted Conrad, was a wanted fugitive in one of the biggest robberies in Cleaveland’s history, reported the Associated Press.

He lived in Boston for five decades under a new name that he created after moving there six months after the bank heist.

Authorities said not even his wife of over 40 years and his daughter knew his real identity and only found out shortly before his death through a death bed confession.

In July 1969, Conrad walked out of the Society National Bank in Cleaveland with $215,000 from the bank’s vault.

Conrad then wrote a letter to his then girlfriend and cut off contact with family and friends.

By the time the bank noticed that the money was missing, Conrad was already on a plane out of Cleaveland.

The heist did not grab attention as both Cleaveland and the country were focused on Apollo 11’s historic moon mission.

Investigators believe that Conrad was inspired by the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

He ended up in Boston, where incidentally the movie was also filmed, and took on a new identity — Thomas Randele — in 1970 after he applied for a social security number.

In Boston, Conrad, now Randele, worked at a country club outside the city. He met his future wife Kathy around the same time and the couple got married in 1982.

Randele then started working in the car business which he continued until his retirement after nearly 40 years.

Randele and his wife lived in a Boston suburb most of their lives and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014.

Investigators are trying to determine what happened to the stolen money.

Randele had many friends and acquaintances who remember him as a pleasant man. One of his acquaintances over the years was an FBI agent in Boston.

Jerry Healy described Randele as “a gentle soul, you know, very polite, very well spoken.” Mr Healy first met Randele at a Woburn, Massachusetts, dealership where they talked daily for years.

His friends and acquaintances said that it is difficult to process his real identity.

“The only way it makes sense is that at that age he was just a kid, and it was a challenge kind of thing,” said Matt Kaplan, who managed two dealerships where Randele worked and golfed with him for many years.

Mr Healy however said, “You know all the years I knew Tommy, I never heard him mention a sister or a mother or a brother or a father.”

Randele’s heist was tracked through the years by a deputy US marshal John Elliott.

Elliott traveled across the US looking for Conrad. The case was handed over to his son, Pete Elliott, now the top U.S. marshal in Cleveland, after his retirement.

Investigators pieced together Randele’s past and in November his family confirmed his heist and said that he had told them what he had done before his death.

His wife has reportedly refused to give interviews.