Chicago Prison Break Update: FBI offers $50k reward in 2 bank robbers' escape

This undated photo provided by the FBI shows , Kenneth Conley, left and Jose Banks two inmates who escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Chicago Police Sgt. Michael Lazarro says their disappearance was discovered at about 8:45 Tuesday morning. Lazarro says the pair used a rope or bed sheets to climb from the building. (AP Photo/FBI,HOPD)
Kenneth Conley (left) and Joseph Banks

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Authorities are now offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of two bank robbers who used a makeshift rope to escape from a Chicago jail.

Pictures: Inmates escape Chicago prison

The former cellmates apparently broke a cell window, pulled out the bars then descended almost 20 stories to escape the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center early Tuesday.

Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, and Kenneth Conley, 38, were unaccounted for during a 5 a.m. headcount, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. An FBI affidavit says the men were in their assigned areas for a head count around 10 p.m. Monday and that jail employees noticed the makeshift rope around 7 a.m.

Inside the cell Tuesday morning, investigators found a broken window and bars inside a mattress, according to an FBI affidavit. Stuffed under blankets on two beds were clothing and sheets, shaped to resemble a body, the affidavit said.

The rope of bed sheets could be seen dangling down the side of the building, at least 200 feet long and knotted about every 6 feet.

Banks and Conley were the first inmates to escape from the federal facility in nearly two decades. It was still unclear how they were able to accumulate enough bed sheets and other items need to pull off the escape, or how jail guards failed to detect the scheme or notice that the men were gone until several hours afterward.

The FBI reissued a plea to the public to be on the lookout for the men, whom they believe are traveling together, and warned that they should be considered armed and dangerous. On Wednesday, Thomas Trautmann, the acting special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Chicago office, announced a $50,000 reward leading to their arrests.

More on Crimesider
December 19, 2012 - Chicago Prison Break Update: 2 bank robbers remain at large after escaping jail using makeshift rope, police sayDec. 18, 2012 - Chicago Prison Break: 2 inmates escape from federal prison in Illinois, authorities say