CHICAGO
12/18/2012 11:09 am ET Updated Dec 18, 2012

Metropolitan Correctional Center Inmates Escape: 2 Convicted Bank Robbers Missing From Lockup

Updated story

Two male prisoners escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago's South Loop early Tuesday.

The men have been identified as Jose Banks, 37, and Kenneth Conley, 38. NBC Chicago reports the two were last seen Tuesday morning in the Tinley Park, Ill. area, about 25 miles from the Chicago facility.

A search is now underway for the men -- cellmates and both recently convicted bank robbers. Patch reports that the Cook County sheriff's K9 unit was out in Tinley Park early Tuesday afternoon in an unsuccessful attempt to track the duo.

Authorities discovered that the men were missing from their cell around 8:45 a.m., the Chicago Tribune reports. The two had last been checked in on at 5 a.m. at the 71 W. Van Buren federal facility, police said, but were last seen during a physical head count at 10 p.m. Monday.

The men apparently tied bedsheets together to form a rope which they used to climb out of a window, NBC reports. The jail's windows are seven feet tall but only five inches wide, the Chicago Reader notes.

From the Associated Press:

Hours later, what appeared to be a rope, knotted at six-foot intervals, could be seen dangling into an alley on the side of the Metropolitan Correctional Center from a window approximately 20 stories from the ground.

According to ABC Chicago, police said it was not likely the two escaped with weapons, but they are still being considered armed and dangerous. The men could be wearing white t-shirts, grey sweatpants and white gym shoes. Police suspect the men had as much as a nine-hour head start before authorities noticed they were missing.

Banks is the so-called "Secondhand Bandit," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. After he was convicted last week, Banks vowed to the judge, "You'll hear from me!"

Arrest warrants have been issued for Banks and Conley, according to CBS Chicago. Prison escape carries a five year prison term maximum sentence, plus a fine of $250,000.

Anyone who sees the men is being urged to call the FBI's Chicago office at 312-421-6700.

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