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Alleged jailbreaker found squatting in abandoned Palos Hills apartment

By Laura Bollin

One of two men who authorities say escaped last month from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago is back in jail after police reportedly found him squatting in an abandoned apartment building in Palos Hills.

Kenneth Conley, 38, was apprehended at 4 p.m. Jan. 4, police said. In his possession was look alike BB gun weapon, police said.

Two maintenance workers at the abandoned and under-construction apartment building, 10279 S. 86th Terrace, reporting seeing a man wearing an overcoat, dark hat and glasses, and walking hunched over while using cane and acting older than he was. When a police officer tried to speak with him, Conley reportedly pushed the officer to the ground and run. Police stopped him at an apartment building in the 10200 block of 84th Terrace, police said.

The officer Conley reportedly pushed sustained a torn hamstring and was taken to and later released from Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights.

Conley was reportedly squatting in the basement of the building. He did not know anyone in either of the two apartment buildings in the complex, but previously lived in the area at an apartment complex in the 8500 block of 102nd Terrace, police said.

Palos Hills police had reportedly arrested Conley before - in 2004 when after a traffic stop he was charged with three counts of resisting arrest. He had a look alike BB gun weapon on his person that time as well, police said.

Conley and Joseph Banks, 37, escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Dec. 18. The men reportedly escaped using a rope made of bed sheets, and put clothing in their beds to make it look like they were laying there asleep. The last successful escape from the facility was in 1985, police said.