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FBI: Escaped Bank Robber Likely Has Left Chicago Area

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Kenneth Conley escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, along with his cellmate, on Dec. 18, 2012. (Credit: FBI)

Kenneth Conley escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center, along with his cellmate, on Dec. 18, 2012. (Credit: FBI)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The FBI said Wednesday they believe Kenneth Conley, the federal inmate who – along with his cellmate – made a dramatic escape from the Metropolitan Correctional Center last week has likely left the Chicago area.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, although Conley’s cellmate – Joseph “Jose” Banks – was captured within three days of their daring escape from their cell on the 15th floor of the federal jail, Conley was still on the lam as of Wednesday afternoon.

After a flurry of leads immediately following Conley’s and Banks’ escape, the FBI said things have settled down a bit in their ongoing search for Conley.

Thomas Trautmann, the acting special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Chicago office, said it’s not being considered a cold case in any way.

“We’re all kind of thinking that he’s more than likely out of the area. You know, he’s got family here. He made a quick stop there, and hasn’t been seen since, so we’re kind of assuming he’s out of the area,” he said. “He’s been known to travel, and we’re just trying to reach out. Any lead we can develop, any person that he might come into contact – if we can figure out who that might be – then we’ll start to look in those areas.”

Conley’s photo has been posted on flyers at all FBI offices across the country and on the FBI’s “Bandit Tracker” website.

Trautmann said authorities are still following leads in the Chicago area, and hoping someone will spot him soon.

“Very often, if you don’t get him in the first few days, it’s a member of the general public that may see the individual,” he said. “If he has no money, he may rob a bank. He’s done that before.”

Conley and Banks — both convicted bank robbers — escaped from the MCC on Dec. 18, by making a rope out of bedsheets, removing bars from the window of their cell, and chipping away at the concrete around the window to make the narrow opening large enough to slip out and scale down 15 stories.

Shortly after Conley and Banks escaped, a security camera at a private building in the South Loop recorded them getting into a cab near Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue. The two briefly visited the home of one of Conley’s relatives in Tinley Park.

Banks was arrested early three days after the escape at an apartment building in the 2300 block of North Bosworth Avenue, but Conley hasn’t been seen since their escape.

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