FBI: 1 of 2 escaped Chicago inmates arrested

This undated photo provided by the FBI shows , Kenneth Conley, left and Jose Banks two inmates who escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Chicago Police Sgt. Michael Lazarro says their disappearance was discovered at about 8:45 Tuesday morning. Lazarro says the pair used a rope or bed sheets to climb from the building. (AP Photo/FBI,HOPD)
December 21, 2012 8:58:50 AM PST
One of the two bank robbers who made a daring escape from a high-rise federal jail in Chicago has been arrested after days on the run, an FBI spokeswoman said Friday.

Special Agent Joan Hyde said Joseph "Jose" Banks was captured without incident in Chicago. The other man who escaped early Tuesday, Kenneth Conley, remains at large.

Hyde said in an email, that the Chicago FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force, along with officers from the Chicago Police Department, arrested Banks about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Later in a brief interview, Hyde said no other arrests were made on the city's North Side at the address where Banks was taken into custody. Whether anyone else will be charged, she said, will be decided by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

When Banks and Conley escaped, the FBI said both men should be considered "armed and dangerous." Hyde said she did not know whether Banks was armed when he was taken into custody. She said that perhaps information on whether or not he had a weapon might come out in court later Friday morning when Banks is scheduled to make his first appearance since his arrest.

The FBI says Banks will be formally charged with escape, a crime that carries with it a sentence of up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine. He has already been convicted in federal court of four counts of bank robbery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Banks, 37, and Conley, 38, somehow broke a large hole into the bottom of a 6-inch wide window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, dropped a makeshift rope made of bed sheets out and climbed down about 20 stories to the ground.

The escape went unnoticed for hours. Surveillance video from a nearby street showing the two hopping into a cab shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday. They had changed out of their orange jail-issued jumpsuits.

When the facility did discover the two men were gone around 7 a.m., what was found revealed a meticulously planned escape, including clothing and sheets shaped to resemble a body under blankets on beds, bars inside a mattress and even fake bars in the cells.

A massive manhunt involving state, federal and local law enforcement agencies was launched, as SWAT teams stormed into the home of a relative of Conley only to learn the two escapees had been there and left. The authorities searched other area homes and businesses - even a strip club where Conley once worked.

Law enforcement officials left a host of questions unanswered, including how the men could collect about 200 feet of bed sheets and what they might have used to break through the wall of the federal facility.

Banks, known as the Second-Hand Bandit because he wore used clothes during his heists, was convicted last week of robbing two banks and attempting to rob two others. Authorities say he stole almost $600,000, and most of that still is missing.

During trial, he had to be restrained because he threatened to walk out of the courtroom. He acted as his own attorney and verbally sparred with the prosecutor, at times arguing that U.S. law didn't apply to him because he was a sovereign citizen of a group that was above state and federal law.

Conley pleaded guilty last October to robbing a Homewood Bank last year of nearly $4,000. Conley, who worked at the time at a suburban strip club, wore a coat and tie when he robbed the bank and had a gun stuffed in his waistband.


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