The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

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
Features
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results