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FBI offers $50K reward for escaped robbers

  |   Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM
CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two bank robbers who escaped a high-rise Chicago federal prison.

Officials said Joseph "Jose" Banks and Kenneth Conley fashioned a rope out of bedsheets and broke a window in their 15th story jail cell, then climbed down the side of the building to freedom. They were last seen at a cell check at 10 p.m. Monday. Guards alerted by incoming employees of the rope dangling from the building checked the cell again at 7 a.m. and the two were gone.

The FBI said it hasn't had much luck tracking down Banks or Conley, the Chicago Tribune said Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, we don't have any new news," FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said. "Our focus is still primarily on the Chicago metropolitan area."

Agents searched a home Tuesday where Banks' cousin lived and said they believed they missed the pair by a few hours.

Investigators said they were evaluating video showing Banks and Conley getting into a taxicab at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday about seven blocks from the jail, FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said.

The daring attempt is only the second successful escape from the hulking downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center. It remained a mystery how the two managed to fit through the building's narrow 5-inch windows to get outside.

A law enforcement source said Banks and Conley may have created a larger opening by removing a building block beneath the window, the Tribune reported.

Testimony at Banks' trial indicated he might have about $500,000 stashed away, the newspaper said.

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