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Friendly family man's 50-year secret: He was fugitive, too



BOSTON (AP) — Just in advance of Thomas Randele died, his spouse of practically 40 decades questioned his golfing buddies and his co-staff from the dealerships where he marketed cars and trucks to occur by their dwelling. They gathered to say goodbye to a dude they referred to as a single of the nicest people they’d at any time known—a devoted spouse and children person who gushed about his daughter, a golfer who never ever bent the regulations, a friend to so lots of that a line stretched outside the funeral property a week afterwards.

By the time of their ultimate pay a visit to past Could at Randele’s household in suburban Boston, cancer in his lungs experienced taken away his voice. So they all left with no knowing that their pal they’d used innumerable hrs swapping tales with never informed them his largest secret of all.

For the previous 50 a long time, he was a fugitive required in one particular of the biggest lender robberies in Cleveland’s historical past, living in Boston less than a new identify he designed 6 months following the heist in the summertime of 1969. Not even his spouse or daughter realized until eventually he told them in what authorities explained as a deathbed confession.

How he was able to leave at the rear of one particular family members and generate a new life—while evading a father and son from the U.S. Marshals Provider who hardly ever gave up their hunt—is just now staying pieced alongside one another. Ted Conrad rapidly figured out that stability was fairly unfastened at the Culture Nationwide Bank in Cleveland immediately after he begun as a teller in January 1969. He told his buddies it would be easy to rob the place, mentioned Russell Metcalf, his greatest pal from large college.


A day following his 20th birthday that July, Conrad walked out with $215,000 from the vault, a haul truly worth $1.6 million now. By the time the lacking money was discovered, Conrad was flying across the region. In a letter despatched to his girlfriend, he mistakenly imagined he could return when the statute of limitations expired. But once he was indicted, that was no longer correct.

Conrad apparently lower off make contact with with his spouse and children. Some sooner or later presumed he was useless, mentioned Matt Boettger, whose mother was Conrad’s more mature sister. His mom, he stated, was relieved to discover out her brother had lived a pleased lifestyle. “She assumed she would go to her grave and hardly ever know,” he explained.

The lender heist in 1969 did not capture the consideration of the country, or even of Cleveland. Absolutely everyone else was centered on Apollo 11′s historic flight to the moon. But for John Elliott, a deputy U.S. marshal, it was personal mainly because he and Conrad arrived from the very same aspect of city. The dilemma was Conrad experienced a head start off and was disciplined more than enough not to make missteps.

Elliott traveled throughout the U.S. looking for Conrad and even immediately after retiring would verify on the scenario, explained his son, Pete Elliott, now the leading U.S. marshal in Cleveland, who inherited the hunt for Conrad approximately 20 yrs ago. His father died in March 2020 right before investigators pieced together particulars from Randele’s obituary and signatures from his earlier. Then in November, Randele’s spouse and children verified that just right before he died, he informed them what he experienced carried out, Elliott reported.

Why Conrad dedicated the theft has been analyzed endlessly. “It wasn’t about the cash. He always wished to impress folks,” stated Metcalf, his high faculty pal.


Investigators feel he was encouraged by the 1968 film “The Thomas Crown Affair,” about a lender govt who got absent with $2.6 million and turned the heist into a video game. Just after the serious-everyday living theft in Cleveland, Conrad wound up in the Boston location, exactly where much of the film was filmed. Thomas Randele arrived into existence in January 1970 when Conrad used for a Social Security quantity in Boston, Elliott claimed.

All through the 1970s, Randele worked at a country club outdoors Boston and became its manager. He also achieved his upcoming wife not lengthy after arriving in Boston. They were married in 1982. All-around then, he began performing in the car company, selling Land Rovers and Volvos until eventually he retired immediately after almost 40 several years. What is not obvious still is what occurred to the income. The Marshals Services is searching into no matter if he dropped it early via terrible investments.

Though Randele and his wife, Kathy, lived most of their several years in a pleasant Boston suburb, they submitted for individual bankruptcy defense in 2014. She explained to in November that her spouse was a excellent person. She has declined job interview requests.

No one would have guessed that Randele, who was 71 when he died, was an individual making an attempt to conceal from authorities. Amid the many persons he turned buddies with around the yrs was an FBI agent in Boston, Elliott explained.

“He was just a mild soul, you know, very polite, quite nicely spoken,” said Jerry Healy, who initial achieved Randele at a Woburn, Massachusetts, dealership where they talked day-to-day for several years.


Matt Kaplan, who managed two dealerships in which Randele labored and golfed with him for quite a few years, known as him a gentleman. “The only way it makes perception is that at that age he was just a kid, and it was a obstacle form of point,” he claimed.

“If he would have explained to us way again when, I don’t believe we would have thought him mainly because he was not that variety of man,” he said. “The person was distinctive than the kid.”

In the early times after Randele’s identity was exposed, his close friends couldn’t believe it. But now wanting back, some issues make perception. How he usually experienced a beard. His reluctance to speak about exactly where he grew up or his extended relatives. “All the a long time I realized Tommy, I never ever heard him point out a sister or a mom or a brother or a father,” Healy stated.

“You could under no circumstances pry nearly anything from him,” mentioned Brad Anthony, another near mate. Nonetheless, he reported it’s nearly difficult to believe. “It just appears to be so out of character for the Tom I realized,” he claimed.

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