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Inmate Kenneth Conley, who escaped from MCC jail in downtown Chicago, captured after tussle with Palos Hills Police, FBI confirms

Saturday, January 05, 2013
Kenneth Conley

There are new details about the capture of Kenneth Conley, a bank robber who escaped from a Chicago jail last month.

Police say Conley was wearing a long overcoat, a beret and glasses, and walking with a limp when they took him in custody in southwest suburban Palos Hills.

They had a scuffle with him before they were able to take him in. After that, both Conley and one of the officers were taken to a local hospital, both complaining of minor injuries.

Police swarmed the apartment complex Friday afternoon looking for evidence that might explain what 38-year-old Kenneth Conley was doing here.

Maintenance crews called police because they suspected a man was staying in the basement of one of the buildings.

A short time later police confronted a man they say was acting suspiciously.

"We asked the guy to stop and provide ID," said Palos Hills Police Chief Paul Madigan. "The guy could not provide any ID, while the officer was trying to determine who he was, he punched the officer, knocked him down and ran."

The officers managed to catch Conley a block away as he tried to break into another building.

After a struggle they took him into custody and noticed he was carrying a weapon that turned out to be a BB gun.

"That freaked me out because, I mean, I go out late at night, and I leave my door unlocked," said neighbor Karina Davila.

Palos Hills Police say they have arrested Conley before.

In 2004, they charged him with battery and resisting arrest.

He was awaiting sentencing for bank robbery when he and cellmate Joseph "Jose" Banks made a daring escape down a makeshift rope ladder from 15 stories up at the Metropolitan Correction Center.

Banks was recaptured three days later.

Authorities say they thought Conley might be out of the country by now.

They are trying to determine why and for how long he was in Palos Hills.

"He has connections with our town because we've arrested him here before," Chief Madigan said.

Police said they plan to file charges of resisting arrest, as well as battery against an officer related to Friday's incident.

They recognize, however, those charges will take a backseat to the federal charges related to his escape.

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