Ronald Bailey was watching TV on Tuesday morning at Bailey's Bar & Grill, which he owns, when he saw something else he owned on the screen: the house he rents out to tenants.
"We were sitting around, and I looked at the TV and said, 'Hey, that's my house'," Bailey said.
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But there was something unfamiliar and unsettling about this normally familiar sight. Tinley Park Police officers, U.S. Marshals in bulletproof vests and SWAT team members with rifles were surrounding the house in the 6600 block of 176th Street.
That's when Bailey left his Oak Park Avenue bar to get a first-hand look at what was unfolding on his property.
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Bailey stood and watched from a neighboring yard as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies searched the house for two convicted bank robbers—Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley—who escaped from a federal prison in downtown Chicago early Tuesday morning.
Police on the scene wouldn't tell Bailey why the house he leased out was the epicenter for the fugitive manhunt, but he learned the reason thanks to the tenants who live upstairs. They told him Conley came to the house that morning to see his mother, Sandy, who is the downstairs tenant. According to the tenants, Sandy Conley turned her son away at the door, Bailey said.
Sandy Conley has lived in the house for eight years, Bailey said, adding that he knew she had a son who had been in trouble but had never met him.
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Bailey said his upstairs tenants, who were allowed to go back in the house after authorities left, spoke to Sandy Conley, who said she didn't want to talk to the media. In fact, the upstairs tenants were already weary of TV news crews waving at them, trying to get their attention to do an interview, he said.
Back at his establishment a couple hours later, Bailey sat at the bar, talking to patrons about what he knew, disspelling rumors and misinformation when he heard them. Occasionally, he would glance up at the TV screens mounted on the walls.
They were tuned to ESPN now. Not the news.