Reward offered for daring prisoner escapees

There have been more developments today in the story of two men who escaped a Chicago prison yesterday.

The FBI says there is video of the two escapees getting into a cab about seven blocks from the prison, at Michigan and Congress. There is now a $50,000 dollar reward for information about where they are right now.

In a development possibly related to this case, an orange jumpsuit was found in the 2900 block of South Archer. Although authorities aren’t yet saying whether they believe it belongs to one of their fugitives.

Authorities have covered a lot of ground since the escape and descended on a relative’s home yesterday in Tinley Park. Police say the wanted men had already come and gone.

“I’m really surprised at the method that they used,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “My understanding is that they removed some cinder blocks and we’re able to get through a four-inch gap as a result of doing that. And climbing down fifteen or eighteen stories on bed sheets is just remarkably crazy.”

The two convicted bank robbers, Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley, shocked law enforcement with a daring escape clearly meticulously planned and rappelled down the side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center on a rope made of bed sheets. A rope reinforced, our sources say, using dental floss, about as makeshift and risky as a middle-of-the-night jailbreak can get.

The FBI announcing that $50,000 dollar reward for leads because at this stage, the trail has gone cold.

The two convicts were colorful and prolific thieves, especially Banks. The FBI Violent Crimes task force says he was the mastermind behind at least 21 bank jobs. Recently-released court documents quote an informant as saying Banks “recruited him to participate in the robberies and organized approximately ten take-over bank robberies on the north side of Chicago between December 2004 and August 2005.”

Then there’s the narrow escape. The prisoners squeezed through a five-inch-wide window past a smashed-out cinder block. Astonishing, but not implausible, according to Scott Fawell, who spent eight months inside the MCC.

“I can’t imagine how much work it would take just to chisel away at it just to get to the point where you could push it open. And even then, you’ve still got to be a contortionist to get out of that facility,” he said.

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