Bank robber caught 2 days after bed sheet jailbreak

Police entered ahomein Southwest suburban Tinley Park about 11:30 Tuesday morning, searching for two escaped prisoners.

Police cars swarmed a block on the North Side overnight and arrested one of the two bank robbers who escaped out the window of the federal jail in the South Loop earlier this week, officials said.

Joseph "Jose" Banks was taken into custody by FBI agents and Chicago police around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the 2300 block of North Bosworth Avenue, according to the FBI.

A young man and a woman who left the building about an hour after the arrest declined to talk.
“We’re not in the mood to answer any questions,” the man said.

Colm Marron said he stepped out of a bar on Fullerton Avenue and saw about a half-dozen unmarked police cars gathering in the Walgreens parking lot around the corner from the building. “They flew out, just down there,” he said, motioning from inside the bar toward Bosworth Avenue.

Seconds later he heard a “huge bang.”

“I was surprised how loud the bang was. It wasn’t like any thunder I’ve ever heard,” he said. “There wasn’t any echo to it, just that loud, off the bat.”

A few minutes later, a handful of marked Chicago police cars arrived, he said.

At a BP gas station at Fullerton, Clybourn and Ashland avenues, an attendant working the overnight shift said he saw two Chicago police cars – an SUV and a squadrol – with an unmarked car in the front and back.

“It’s not like there was a big old mob out there looking,” said Ralph De LaRosa, 45. 

He noticed the flashing lights while he stood inside the gas station.

The police cars, their lights flashing, took off west on Fullerton, then south on Ashland.

Banks and his cellmate, Kenneth Conley, both convicted bank robbers awaiting sentencing, were last accounted for at 10 p.m. Monday during a routine bed check at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, authorities said.

About 7 a.m. Tuesday, jail employees arriving for work saw ropes made from bedsheets dangling from a hole in the wall near the 15th floor. The two had put clothing and sheets under blankets in their beds to throw off guards making nighttime checks, authorities said.

Cameras mounted to the side of the 28-story federal jail captured Banks and Conley sliding down the building shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to an employee who wished to remain anonymous.

The men left view briefly, but it was believed they landed on the roof of a garage below. Moments later, footage from a different camera showed them hopping a black fence marking the perimeter of the property, the employee said.

The FBI said a surveillance camera a few blocks from the jail showed the men, wearing light-colored clothing, hailing a taxi at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue. They also appeared to be wearing backpacks, according to the FBI.

The manhunt for the inmates included several high-profile raids Tuesday in the southwest suburbs of Tinley Park and New Lenox, where Conley's family and associates lived. Conley is still unaccounted for as of Friday morning.

A $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the two fugitives was announced by the FBI.

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