Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Steve Hadley

Real Name: Steven Riley Hadley
Aliases: Robert J. Johnson
Wanted For: Theft, Embezzlement
Missing Since: July 1983


Details: Thirty-six-year-old Steven Hadley, a married father of three, worked as a manager and head teller at a credit union in Waterloo, Iowa. Once a well-respected and well-liked person in his community, his co-workers and friends were shocked to learn that he had stolen over a million dollars from the credit union where he worked.
As head teller, he was responsible for ordering cash for the credit union. On the week of the crime, he positioned himself as part of a company training scheme as head teller at the main office. On Thursday, July 21, 1983, he requested much more than was normal for the upcoming pay day on Friday. He also reserved a flight to Los Angeles under the name "Robert Johnson", picked up a rental car on his lunch break, and purchased a wig and two large suitcases with wheels.
When the cash was delivered at 4PM that afternoon, he packed it into three large cardboard boxes in full view of the vault's video camera. Several employees almost caught him, but he was able to hide what he was doing without them becoming suspicious. Hadley also tampered with the credit union's cash accounting system, which distracted several employees. This gave him enough time to carry the boxes out the back door. Before he left, he filled out a fake balance sheet. He also signed a goodbye card to the manager, who was retiring. He said, in part: Leave not with a whimper, but with a bang!
The next morning, he called his wife and told her to read a note he had left behind in his drawer. It read:
This is a very difficult letter to write, but I couldn't let you find out from someone else. If I call you to read this letter it means that I had successfully left the state with around $1 million from the credit union. I started to fantasize about how easy it would be to get so much money, it has become a game to come up with ideas about how to do it and cover my trail. I don't expect you to understand what is compelling me to do something this drastic.
He also told her that she would never see him again. That same morning, it was discovered that the money had been stolen.
Hadley's rental car was later found abandoned at the Waterloo airport parking lot. He has not been seen since. It was apparent to police that he planned the crime well in advance. It is believed that he committed the crime because he was tired of his old life and angry at his company for giving a promotion to someone else. Some believe that he also wanted the recognition for being able to pull off the crime.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 6, 1988 episode. The case was also featured on the show Masterminds. It was excluded from Amazon Prime episodes.
Results: Captured. In preparation for the Unsolved Mysteries broadcast, the FBI sent wanted posters of Hadley to police departments across the country. An officer in Friendswood, Texas, recognized Hadley as a resident, and he was arrested on April 25, 1988, under the assumed name Richard Glenn Finley. Investigators in Friendswood were already suspicious of him, as he had paid for expensive items in cash and was using the name of a boy who died in 1948.
Hadley had moved to Friendswood one year after the theft. He had married, bought a new Ferrari, and was living with his new wife when he was arrested. After his arrest, his parents and their church helped raise a $50,000 bail for him; however, the judge denied it. He was returned to Iowa to face trial. On August 11, 1988, he pleaded guilty to three felony counts, and was sentenced to thirteen years in prison. He requested to be moved to a prison in Texas to be closer to his wife. The judge agreed; however, shortly afterwards, his wife filed for divorce. Hadley paid taxes for the money he stole from his previous job. He was released from prison in 1992. He has since married for a third time and lives in Texas.