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Published: Tuesday, 12/18/2012

2 inmates escape from federal prison in Chicago

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A rope dangles from a window on the back side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. A rope dangles from a window on the back side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
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CHICAGO— Two convicted bank robbers were on the run after using a knotted rope or bed sheets to escape from a federal prison window high above downtown Chicago early Tuesday, a week after one of them made a courtroom vow of retribution.

The escape occurred sometime between 5 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. when the inmates were discovered missing, Chicago Police Sgt. Mark Lazarro said. Hours later, what appeared to be a rope, knotted at six-foot intervals, could be seen dangling from a window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center approximately 20 stories above the ground.

Joseph “Jose” Banks, 37, and Kenneth Conley, 38, had been wearing prison-issue orange jumpsuits, but now might be wearing white t-shirts, gray sweat pants and white gym shoes, Lazarro said.

The FBI said the men were last seen together in the Tinley Park area, about 25 miles southwest of Chicago, and that they should be considered armed and dangerous.

SWAT teams stormed a Tinley Park home early Tuesday afternoon, but the escapees were not there, FBI Special Agent Frank Bochte said. He said there was evidence the two had been there earlier, and authorities were using dogs and helicopters to search various places in the Chicago area where the two had connections.



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