Meridian Star

New Today

January 10, 2013

One of the greatest prison escapes of modern times

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

Colorful characters. When Conley was caught last Friday, he was disguised as an old man, complete with cane, overcoat and beret. (Presumably Conley's old man character was from France.) And before Banks was originally arrested, the FBI had dubbed him the "Second Hand Bandit" because he wore used clothing during his bank robberies. This is a wonderfully puzzling nickname. How did the FBI know the clothes were secondhand rather than just old and raggedy? Did they still have the Salvation Army tags on them? Did Banks announce it as part of his robbery speech? ("OK, everyone, this is a robbery, and before you go thinking you're going to be able to identify me by my clothes, well, think again, 'cause they're SECONDHAND CLOTHES!")

An element of menace. After Banks was convicted — only a few days before he escaped — he appeared to threaten the judge, Rebecca Pallmeyer. When Pallmeyer asked Banks, who had acted as his own lawyer, how long he would need to file a motion, Banks replied: "No motion will be filed, but you'll hear from me." For a while, some worried that Banks escaped in order to make good on that promise.

For me, the best part of this story is the bedsheets. The "bedsheet rope" sounds apocryphal, one of those gimmicks you seem in the movies but doesn't really exist in real life. Why would any adult trust a flimsy prison bedsheet to bear his or her weight?

And yet prisoners escape using bedsheets more often than you'd think. In 2009, two Polish escapees used bedsheets to conquer a 15-meter wall at a prison in Germany. In 2011, Vernon Collins and David White used a bedsheet rope to escape a jail in downtown St. Louis. In 2003, accused double murderer Hugo Selenski escaped from the fifth floor of a jail in Luzerne County, Pa., with the aid of a bedsheet rope. ("It's not like I didn't do it," said Selenski after pleading guilty to the escape. "I was there one day, and I'm gone the next.")

Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

A majority of House members approved a motion to sue President Obama for exceeding his constitutional boundaries. The lawsuit will focus on the presidents overhaul of health care. Do you think the lawsuit is warranted?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide