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FBI: $50,000 reward for capture of bank robbers who escaped jail using bedsheets

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The Chicago office of the FBI announced a $50,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to the apprehension of two escapees from the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Two convicted bank robbers, 37-year-old Jose Banks and 38-year-old Kenneth Conley, were discovered missing Tuesday morning and haven't been seen since. According to the complaint affidavit, Banks and Conley were cellmates and were present during a physical head count at 10 p.m. Monday.

Investigators said the pair used a rope made from bedsheets and other linens to rappel down the side of the building from the cell at the federal jail in the Loop.

It's a bold break that has many questioning how it happened.


When authorities found Banks and Conley missing, they discovered metal window bars in a bed mattress and fake bars inside the cell.

Officials also found clothing in the shape of a body in the bed blankets and the escape rope tied to the bars of the broken window that's believed to be only six inches wide.

Federal agents swarmed a home in Tinley Park Tuesday afternoon after a tip that Conley may have visited family there. They also checked a nearby Metra station and forest preserve, but Banks and Conley are still on the run and may have gotten as much as a nine-hour head start.

Conley was convicted of stealing $4,000 last year from a bank in Homewood. Banks was convicted just last week of four bank heists in which he stole $600,000. Most of that money was not recovered, so the concern is that if Banks has access to cash, they could be far away.

The men are believed to be together and should be considered dangerous.

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