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Two Inmates Escape Downtown Federal Prison [UPDATE]

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Dec 18, 2012 5:20PM

UPDATE 3 p.m.: The Tribune has confirmed that the two inmates tied together bedsheets, squeezed out of the building and shimmied down the makeshift at least 15 stories. “A rope was fashioned out of bedsheets,’’ said a spokesman for the MCC. “I would imagine that they saved them up." The police are still hunting down the two convicted bank robbers.

Two men, both bank robbers, escaped from the downtown federal prison Tuesday morning by knocking out part of a cinder-block wall and climbing down a rope sometime between 5 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

The Tribune writes:

A rope could be seen dangling from about 15 stories up along the south side of the MCC, but police would not say whether it was involved in the escape. The rope appeared to be pieces tied together.

Jose Banks, aka the Secondhand Bandit, was convicted last week of robbing four banks. Kenneth Conley pleaded guilty in October to robbing a bank. The two were cellmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Facility.

The Sun-Times writes:

Banks, 37, is described as a black man, 5-feet-8, weighing 160 pounds, and Conley, 38, is described as white man, 6-feet-tall, weighing 185 pounds. Police said both men should be considered dangerous.

The men were reportedly last seen near a home in Tinley Park where Conley is believed to have family, authorities said.

The Sun-Times reports Banks had to be restrained while representing himself in court last week, when he told the judge, “You’ll hear from me!” Police and men in FBI jackets are scouring the area and questioned people at the nearby Greyhound Bus Station.

The last time someone escaped from the MCC was in 1985 when two convicted murders used exercise weights to knock out concrete and smuggled hacksaw blades to cut away metal to open a 3-inch window slit. The two then escaped down a 75-foot electrical cord. One man was caught in three months, and the other was caught two months later.