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Scenes From a Manhunt (Photo Gallery)

Patch captured the images from Tuesday's search in Tinley Park and the surrounding area by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for two men who escaped a downtown Chicago prison complex.

Updated: 5:23 p.m.

Cook County Sheriff's Police were investigating a possible lead in the 800 block of South Cedar Road in New Lenox. According to police, a New Lenox resident was identified as having shared a mutual friendship with one of the escaped convicts. A police officer, who refused to give his name, said the lead "didn't pan out."

A line of a dozen or so unmarked squads are parked in the center divide of Cedar Road. Officers were huddled together on the front lawn, discussing the investigation.

READ: Fugitive Manhunt—What Happened and What's Next

Helicopters have been flying around New Lenox since the early afternoon. However, the number of helicopters with search lights seemed to increase around 4 p.m. 

Update 5:15 p.m.

The FBI, which has been coordinating the manhunt for Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley, is keeping the scope of its search to the entire Chicago area, said special agent spokesman Frank Botche.

"It's expanded only because we're now following up on other leads and trying to track down other avenues, and the fact is is that it's taken us all over the Chicago area," he said.

Agents aren't sure if the convicts are still together or if they've separated, Botche said. He added that they could be hiding out somewhere or could have joined up with associates.

While the FBI has no information that the men are armed, Botche said they could have come across weapons and should still be considered dangerous.

Anyone with information on the two men should contact the FBI Chicago office at 312-421-6700 or other local law enforcement.

Update: 4:45 p.m.

Authorities don't believe Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley are still in the Tinley Park area, according to a notice sent out by the Village of Tinley Park.

The Tinley Park Police Department added patrol officers to shifts, and assigned them to schools, once they confirmed that one of the men was seen in the area Tuesday morning, according to the notice. 

Update: 12:48 p.m. 

Law enforcement have left the area. No one was seen removed from the home or apprehended in the area. 

Update: 12:25 p.m.

A Cook County sheriff's K9 unit is out near north on 67th Avenue, as the search continues. Onlookers are following the unit up to 174th Street and continuing north. Unmarked law enforcement vehicles are following as well.

READ: 

The search is also continuing south toward the Oak Park Metra station. Streets near the station have been blocked off, as well as the parking lot, as the K9 unit entered the station.

Ronald Bailey, owner of the house that was surrounded, said Sandy Conley, the mother of Kenneth Conley, has been living in the house for eight years. He has never met Kenneth Conley. However, it's believed that Conley was at the house this morning. 

Update: 12:15 p.m.

Law enforcement are slowly leaving the area, and no one was seen being taken from the house.

Update: 11:50 a.m.

Law enforcement have surrounded a house in Tinley Park, though they have not confirmed whether the wanted men are inside.

Tinley Park police, Cook County sheriff's deputies, FBI agents and members of the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive U.S. Marshals Task Force have surrounded a house in the 6600 block of 175th. Tinley Park Police Chief Steve Neubauer also is on scene. Law enforcement entered the house around 11:45 a.m. Nearby streets have been blocked off.

Return to Patch for further updates.

Original Post

Authorities are searching for two men who escaped a federal prison in Chicago Tuesday morning, and were later seen in Tinley Park.

Jose Banks, 37, and Kenneth Conley, 38, are both convicted bank robbers, and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The bank robbers staged a daring escape from their downtown cells in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in the Loop—one of the world's only skyscraper prisons. Authorities discovered a knotted rope or bedsheet dangling from a window high above the street.Homeland Security and U.S. Marshal's Service agents, according to AP, were trying to find security camera footage from businesses neighboring the jail.  Randy Cohen, owner of the Royal Jewelry and Loans store, said he didn't think his cameras were pointed in the right direction to record the escape.

READ: Fugitive Search Disrupts Funeral at Nearby Church

The men escaped between 5 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.  

The facility, which houses around 700 inmates, is one of the only skyscraper prisons in the world, said Jennifer Lucente of Chicago Architecture Foundation told AP that architect Harry Weese designed the building in the mid-1970s, and its triangular shape limits the number of blind spots for guards. Each cell has a window as part of the building's humane design, she said.

The men were last seen in Tinley Park, though the FBI did not specify their exact location, and authorities are still searching for them.

Banks is described as 5 feet 8 inches, 160 pounds and black. Conley is described as 6 feet, 185 pounds and white. The men were originally wearing orange jumpsuits, but may now be wearing white shirts, sweat pants and white gym shoes.

At least one helicopter searching for the two was seen near Tinley Park High School and the former Panduit facility.

Community Consolidated School District 146 schools and the administration center are in a soft lock down until further notice. The schools will elevate their lockdown procedures should a greater threat become apparent, said D146 Community Relations Manager Linda Zec.

Law enforcement assured D146 administrators that no immediate threat is apparent to the schools or administration building, and they remain in contact with the district, Zec said. 

"Our administration is on top of the situation and in contact with our local police authority for updates," Zec wrote in an email. "At this point there seems to be no need to cause panic and that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our students and staff safe."

Tinley Park High School is currently in lock down. Classroom doors are locked, as is the high school building, although classes are still being taught. Doors are being monitered and there is a police presence on campus.

READ: Orland Park Police Investigating False Bank Robbery Report

"We're just trying to take every safety measure that we can," said Lori DeVos, community relations coordinator for Bremen High School District 228.

All three Consolidated High School District 230 schools are also on soft lockdown.

"This is a precautionary measure and students and staff are not in imminent danger," was said in a phone call and email to D230 parents.

Orland School District 135 schools also were on soft lock down, as were schools in Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Burbank and other nearby areas.

Anyone with information on the two men should contact the Tinley Park Police Department at 708-444-5300, the FBI Chicago office at 312-421-6700 or other local law enforcement.

Frankfort Patch Editor Anna Schier and Tinley Park Patch Editor Joe Vince contributed to this post.

 

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jeff f December 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Guns cause crime like flies cause garbage. Arm yourself now cause when the sh t goes down r u gonna rely on those weak ass tinley park pigs. Or end up like emily and become another victim
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM
COB, you obviously ignored education your entire life. And other countries don't have the same rights as we do. They aren't the "land of the free". Education is good, yes. When it comes down to it though, it doesn't matter what you've been taught. You can tell someone over and over that if they are going to drink and drive they will kill someone. If you are going to text and drive you will kill someone. If you are going to leave guns laying around and not it a secure case, your kids are going to find it and kill someone. No one actually listens until they kill someone. Education can only get you so far, the rest is up to you. You have to be the one to make right choices. We can't live someones life for them. Most people are smart enough to pick up on these things without being told. We have the ads and commercials for the benefit of people with out common sense; which is extremely uncommon. I'm speaking in general now, not attacking you Bob. It's your job as a parent to educate your children on the dangers of all these things, not the government, not the police, not your next door neighbor. YOU. You owe it to your children to keep them safe, informed, and reliable. My generation is going to be in charge soon and trust me, we don't take crap and spoil everyone like previous generations. When it comes down to it, stupid people are the people that kill others because of stupid actions and ruin it for the rest of us, whose parents raised us right.
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I do not own a gun, but I believe in our right to own one. I am educated on guns because my father taught me. I have never shot up a school or even threatened to. Not every single person is the same, but to rap-up educated, responsible adults in with criminals is just ridiculous. If we had no right to own a weapon, criminals would still have guns - have access to guns - and continue to rob banks, commit hate crimes, commit gang warfare, shoot innocent bystanders, and kill each other with guns. I certainly believe in limits to gun control. If you don't have a hunting license, you don't need a hunting rifle. Assault style weapons are nothing more then the equivalent to a nice shiny red sports car for your midlife crisis. You have absolutely no need for them in any real life situation (zombies don't really exists). I'm not a criminal. I am educated. I don't kill people. However, I know how to use a gun and I'm a pretty damn good shot. And you best believe if we actually had war on our soil, in this day and age, you'd all be ranting and raving about how we need MORE guns. Unless, you want your women and children to get raped.
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 04:40 PM
B.S. The 4th amendment and all rights similar don't exist anymore because of the Patriot Act. Thank Bush for that one. I really don't care, I have nothing to hid. I just think it's stupid that weed is still illegal.
Mrs. Featherbottom December 21, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Michael, I agree with you on this one. We are the land of the free, not the land of the tell your neighbor how to live their life. We ARE the land of the FREE TO tell your neighbor how to live their life though. Ha! I do have to say that almost everyone here is borderline fascist.

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