Chicago Prison Escape: 1 of 2 Bank Robbers Arrested

Authorities are still looking for Kenneth Conley.

December 21, 2012, 4:04 AM

Dec. 21, 2012— -- One of the two Chicago bank robbers who escaped from a high-rise federal jail in Chicago using a makeshift rope to rappel down the building has been arrested.

Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, was arrested late Thursday around 11:30 p.m. local time without incident in Chicago, according to an FBI news release.

Agents and officers from the Chicago FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force, along with officers from the Chicago Police Department, made the arrest. Banks was unarmed.

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Authorities are still looking for Kenneth Conley, who escaped the Metropolitan Correctional Center with Banks sometime early Tuesday morning.

Banks and Conley, 38, were last seen Monday at 10 p.m. during a prison head count at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago's Loop district. The two borrowed a move from the film "Escape From Alcatraz" by stuffing their beds with clothes in the shape of bodies.

The men then broke the window of their cell at the federal prison, shimmying out a hole only inches wide, and scaled down the side of the building 17 stories, all the while holding onto a rope of sheets and towels taken from the prison. The rope was strong enough to support the two, one weighing 165 pounds the other 185 pounds.

At 7 a.m. the next morning, as employees arrived at work, they noticed the sheets left dangling from the building and at jailers discovered that Conley and Banks were missing.

Hours before Banks was arrested, investigators said surveillance cameras captured Banks and Conley getting into a taxi minutes after their brazen escape. They entered the taxi at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Congress Street, just blocks away from the jail.

The men then showed up at the home of Sandy Conley, Kenneth Conley's mother, in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, Ill. Tuesday morning, only five hours after they escaped.

"He was in the house for two minutes," Sandy Conley told ABC News Thursday. "I can't tell you if he was armed. I made him get out."

Banks, nicknamed "the second-hand bandit" because of the used clothing disguises he wore in several robberies, was convicted of armed robbery last week. His parting words to his judge, Rebecca Pallmeyer, were, "I'll be seeking retribution as well as damages ... you'll hear from me."

Conley had been in jail for several years.

Pallmeyer and others who presided over the men's cases have reportedly been offered protection. The FBI and U.S. Marshals were offering a combined reward of $60,000 to find the inmates and bring them back into custody.

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