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Illinois police recapture killer after accidental release

By Karen Brooks

(Reuters) - A convicted Indiana murderer was back in custody on Saturday after being recaptured following his mistaken release from an Illinois jail due to an apparent clerical error.

Cook County authorities arrested Steven Robbins, 44, on Friday in Kankakee, Illinois, about 60 miles south of Chicago, after interviews with family and friends and "various leads" helped locate him, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

Robbins was serving time in Indiana when he was taken to Illinois to face a drug charge that dated back to 1992. When those charges were dropped, he was released rather than taken back to prison in Indiana.

Officials had offered a $12,000 reward for information leading to his recapture and Robbins was the subject of a multi-state search by county officials that also involved the FBI, the U.S. Marshall's Service, Illinois State Police and local law enforcement.

Robbins, a Gary, Indiana, native, was serving a 60-year sentence for murder and carrying an unlicensed handgun. He was sent to prison in October 2004 and his earliest release date was June 2029, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.

The Robbins incident came a little over a month after two convicted bank robbers escaped from a multi-story federal lockup in Chicago using a rope made of bed sheets tied together, before making their getaway in a taxi. Both men were later captured.

(Reporting By Karen Brooks; Editing by Tom Brown and Sandra Maler)