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Reward for escapee bumped to $10,000

Thursday, July 21, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter

The FBI increased to $10,000 Wednesday a reward for jail escapee and suspected serial bank robber Randy Rencher.

The feds stepped up the dollar amount in the fourth week of their manhunt for Rencher, the first Cook County Jail inmate to escape since 1985.

Rencher, 37, slipped into a correctional officer's uniform and out of the jail June 27. He had access to the locker room while delivering meals at the jail complex near 26th and California.

Shortly after his escape, the feds believe he robbed a downtown bank while still wearing the uniform. He's suspected of robbing another bank last week, making off with nearly $20,000.

Rencher, whose last known address was in south suburban Matteson, has twice been featured on America's Most Wanted and is scheduled to be featured again this week.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice said the $10,000 reward is intended to keep the case in the public eye and spur more tips that will lead to Rencher's arrest. CrimeStoppers has also offered $1,000.

"We're convinced he's still in the area. We think someone is aiding him," Rice said. "We just want to get him off the street."

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose said several dozen tips a day have come in on Rencher but authorities are convinced someone is helping hide him. If that's true, "they're opening themselves up for charges," Ambrose said.

Rencher is 6 foot 3 and 180 pounds. He has the word "Slick" and a heart and pitchfork tattooed on his arms. "Outlaw" is tattooed on his back.

Anyone with information about Rencher's whereabouts should call the FBI at (312) 431-1333.

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