Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Names: Terry Lee Conner and Joseph William Dougherty
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Armed Robbery, Abduction
Missing Since: 1986


Details: Terry Lee Conner and Joseph Dougherty are career criminals with lengthy police records of robberies, starting in 1985. While being transported to a courtroom in Oklahoma City, Conner and Dougherty freed themselves from their handcuffs and ankle restraints using a key one of them sneaked into the car. From there, they overpowered the agents and forced them to drive to a secluded location. They handcuffed the agents to a tree and Connor planned to shoot them. Fortunately, Dougherty convinced him not to and they fled. The agents were eventually able to free themselves.
A few months later, on September 3, 1985, during a robbery in West Allis, Wisconsin, they took fourteen bank employees hostage and locked them in a store room. They then stole $750,000 from the safe and fled. In the summer of 1986, the two went to Vancouver, Washington. While there, they went to the home of bank vice president Ray Deering under the pretext of buying a car. They convinced Ray to let them come inside with him. Once inside, they pulled out their weapons on Ray, his wife Ronnie, and their son Tom.
The fugitives held the family hostage overnight. At one point, they left one of their weapons on the floor next to the couch. They went to another corner of the room to talk. The family decided not to reach for the weapon. The fugitives returned and told them that the gun had its safety on. They said it was a test to see if they would go for the gun. Since they didn't, they trusted the family more.
The next morning, they changed into business suits to look like bank executives. They then forced the Deerings to come with them to the bank. They arrived at the bank at 7:05AM, before any of the other employees. However, the vault could not be opened without two keys, held by separate tellers. As the tellers arrived, their keys were confiscated and they were sent to a back room. The fugitives then opened the bank vault and stole $250,000 in less than sixty seconds.
Conner and Dougherty fled the scene, leaving the hostages unharmed. They have since been placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on Special #1 hosted by Raymond Burr on January 20, 1987. Actor Rex Linn portrayed Terry Lee Conner. At the end of the segment, all of the other FBI Most Wanted fugitives were briefly profiled. 
The case was documented on an episode of The FBI Files after their arrests. The 2001 movie Bandits was loosely based on Conner and Dougherty's bank heists.
Results: Captured. The men were found and arrested a few weeks before the show aired. Terry Lee Conner was arrested at a motel on December 9, 1986 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. A motel clerk contacted authorities after she discovered that he had registered under the name "Steve Posick" one of his known aliases. He is now serving a life sentence in federal prison.
Joseph Dougherty was arrested at a laundromat on December 19, 1986 in Antioch, California. Agents were monitoring the laundromat looking for another suspect when they recognized Dougherty as a wanted fugitive. Once located, he was arrested at shotgun point in the parking lot as he approached his vehicle. Dougherty was returned to prison, where he died at the age of 76 on April 14, 2016.