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Cleveland bank heist solved, 52 years later

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by maumann, Nov 13, 2021.

  1. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Twenty-year-old bank teller stuffed more than $200,000 into a paper bag in 1969 and vanished. Now detectives have finally solved the case, except the guy who done it, done died a year ago.

    Have always wondered, particularly in today's world with so much data tracking, how easily you could switch identities and not be detected. Apparently Ted Conrad/Tom Randele figured it out.

    Fugitive who pulled off one of Cleveland's biggest bank heists identified 52 years later (nbcnews.com)
  2. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    A false identity was one helluva lot easier in 1969. Go to a graveyard. Find the grave stone of someone who died as a child around your year of birth. Send a money order in to get a copy of their birth certificate. Use that to get other ID, a SSN, a DL. Grow some credit via taking out a department store credit card or similar.

    Presto. A whole new you.

    Computers make that sort of thing a whole different level of difficult.
    Inky_Wretch and maumann like this.
  3. mpcincal

    mpcincal Well-Known Member

    Ask this guy how easy it was to fake an identity in the 1960s.

    randall stephens shawshank.jpg
    Chef2, HanSenSE, misterbc and 5 others like this.
  4. Mngwa

    Mngwa Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure it would have been really easy to vanish into the vastness of the United States in 1969. Now? Pretty much impossible.
    maumann likes this.
  5. Scout

    Scout Well-Known Member


    The guy got away with it. They figured out where he was after he died.
    Wenders, TowelWaver, SFIND and 5 others like this.
  6. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    I don't know why I'm fascinated with this, but you'd have to sever everything about your past. No contact with family or friends ever again. Move to an area of the country where nobody's ever met you, and be lucky enough over 50 years not to be recognized. Take an entry level job where they don't need to check references and build a new resume.

    You've got $200,000 in cash but it'd look pretty suspicious to pay for everything out of pocket. I guess you could open a checking account with $100 or $200 and steadily deposit more as you go. Back then, you could buy a car or mobile home, or even pay rent and utilities with cash without raising suspicion.

    Like all the posts have mentioned so far, it'd be next to impossible to pull off in 2021. Even if you could create a new passport, SSN and driver's license, there's just so much stored data out there that would probably flag you. You can't really go Shawshank and find yourself on a Mexican beach.
    Liut, SixToe and sgreenwell like this.
  7. Mngwa

    Mngwa Well-Known Member

    In 1969, we had newspapers and tube TV. If people wanted to check your references, they could only do it by phone. I'm guessing if you were a well-dressed, well-spoken white man, most employers didn't even care if they talked to the references or not. Many people didn't open checking accounts. Boston is a big city. He could have live on cash simply by spending in different neighborhoods and no one would have noticed.
  8. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Master Charge started in 1966. BankAmericard (now Visa) went national that same year. ATMs didn't exist until at least 1969, and I didn't have one at my bank until 1977. It's definitely a different world.
  9. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    He was only 20, so he had no real work history. Anyone checking him after the change would see he started contributing to SSI at age 20, not unusual for the time. And many people didn't get a SSI card until they started work, unlike today, when you get one upon birth in many place. Many people didn't even have credit cards back then, so no credit history would not have been unusual.

    I don't know about Ohio driver's licenses, but New York licenses did not have your photo on them at that time. I's sort of surprised the draft board didn't try to find him, a 20-year-old non-student in 1969 was prime draft bait.

    Back then, people paid for a lot more things in cash than they do today, so that would not have been difficult.

    He would have had an even better chance of succeeding had he moved even further away, like Seattle or California where there are many more people, and many more transplants, than even in Boston.
  10. Mngwa

    Mngwa Well-Known Member

    I think a story of his life in Boston would be fascinating. Does he have family, does he have friends? Did anyone know who he was? Did he have family in Ohio that came to Boston? This is the story, not that they figured out who he is.
    maumann and bigpern23 like this.
  11. Tighthead

    Tighthead Well-Known Member

  12. Driftwood

    Driftwood Well-Known Member

    I had a great uncle who was married with kids and went poof in the night around about 1940. He vanished without a trace. He showed back up with a wife and son around about 1960. He had run off to Memphis and been living there the whole time. Didn't even change his name.
    My mom said justice was served when he asked to see my great grandmother (his mom), and my grandfather took him to her grave without telling him where they were going.
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