New Details Emerge in Capture of Escapee

After being on the lam for 18 days, the second half of a daring escape duo who scaled down the side of a high-rise federal jail is back in custody and being held without bond.

A pale, thin Kenneth Conley appeared in federal court Saturday morning, shoeless and in a wheelchair because of swollen feet.

The escaped bank robber was arrested in Palos Hills Friday afternoon after a maintenance worker at a residential building complex called police about a suspicious person that may be sleeping in the basement.

When police arrived, they spotted Conley hobbling down the street using a cane and wearing a beret and a large overcoat, all part of a flimsy disguise, authorities said. After pushing an officer to the ground, and a brief foot chase, Conley was arrested and taken into custody.

Conley’s ordeal began when the 38-year-old former strip club worker carried out a brazen escape from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the first there in almost 30 years.

It was December 18th when Conley, along with his cellmate Joseph ‘Jose’ Banks, removed a cinder block from their cell and under the cover of night, scaled twenty stories down the façade of the building with a rope made of bed sheets. The pair then caught a cab to what they believed would be freedom.

Freedom was short lived for Banks who was caught just two days later near a friend’s Northside home. Escape charges against him have since been dropped since he already faces up to 80 years in prison in a separate bank robbery case.

Conley, who was awaiting sentencing for a 2011 bank robbery in Homewood, once lived in an apartment near the scene of Friday’s arrest and was well known to Palos Hills police for obstruction and resisting an officer.

If convicted, Conley faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for bank robbery.

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