During the first three days after the escape, there were reports of them being spotted in all of the Chicago suburbs and most of the United States. However, by the second week news from the war in Europe had pushed them off of the front pages and they were, for the most part, forgotten about.
Through Roger's contacts on the outside they were able to rent a large apartment in a run down tenement building not far from the Valley, where Roger had grown up. There, the escaped convicts lived quietly for two months. By early December, they began to quarrel, largely because Nelson and Mclnerney had begun drinking and talking about going out for women. Roger told them to stop drinking and to forget about women for at least another three months. Nelson didn't like it; he threw a punch that started a brawl. The brawl brought the neighbors banging on the door. The next morning Roger moved out into his own place.
For the first few days, Roger sat around his small apartment "admiring the loneliness."His solitude didn't last long though, he eventually made contact with his brother, Eddie, who provided him with a bankroll of $2,500 and a plan to send him to Arizona.
Using the money Eddie had given him but refusing to leave Chicago, Roger took $200 of the money and was able to get a driver's license, Social Security card and a military draft card (an absolute must in 1942). With these papers Touhy took on the identity of Robert Jackson who was exempt from military service because he worked in a war plant. Touhy even had a small metal badge that read "Inspector" which he wore on his lapel.
"I wore good clothes," Roger said, "but nothing gaudy. My hat came down well on my forehead. I wore glasses issued to me in prison and the old photographs of me in the paper showed me without them...."
He bought a used car and spent his days driving through the forest preserves or going to the movies.
Six weeks went by before he saw Basil Banghart, the only escapee who knew where Roger lived. Banghart began to visit regularly and on one visit he asked Roger to come over to the apartment. Since Roger was lonely and bored, he took him up on the offer on Thanksgiving and stayed the night. The next day all seven were playing cards and drinking when another fist fight broke out.
Touhy remembers, “The time was getting close for capture. The Christmas season came along and I spent hours walking State Street looking in the windows...lonely as a whorehouse on Christmas eve...well I lived it...in a side street saloon, listening to the Christmas carols on the radio and drinking beer for beer with a white haired bartender...the next day I went to the Empire Room in the Palmer House, got a table in a corner and ate a big dinner...freedom was beginning to pall on me, I guess.”
Roger's landlady had left him a Christmas gift in his room, so he stopped by her apartment to thank her. While he was there, one of her guests spotted him and Roger, with a convict's sixth sense, knew he had been made. That night he moved back in with Banghart and the others.
The transition back to living with the others didn't go well. There was another fist fight and Nelson and Stewart left the apartment shortly after Touhy's return. Nelson went to Minneapolis where his mother turned him in to the FBI just hours after he arrived. Within minutes after his arrest, Nelson told the agents everything he knew about the escapees and by nightfall, a small army of agents was slowly and carefully moving in around the gang's apartments.
J. Edgar Hoover arrived on the scene to personally supervise the raid because he felt that Touhy had sullied the Bureau's reputation when he escaped conviction from the Hamm kidnapping case built by Special Agent Purvis back in 1933. To Hoover, the FBI's capture of Touhy would justify the Bureau's original campaign to put him behind bars. Legally, Touhy and the others hadn't done anything wrong. Incredibly there was no law in the state of Illinois against escaping from prison nor would there be one until 1949. Even if there were such a law, as a federal agency, the FBI still had no grounds to enter the case. Hoover needed a reason to lock Touhy up so his brain trust created one. It was decided that Touhy and the others had violated the federal law which required all men of military age to notify their draft boards when they had changed addresses. The fact
that Roger was well over draft age and had already served his country and that the others as convicted felons weren't required to register were only facts that clogged the theory.
The FBI's Chicago office had the entire arrest procedure planned out days in advance of Hoover's arrival. Agents and snipers already surrounded the building and undercover agents had rented several apartments in the building.
When O'Connor and Mclnerney came home, six agents, guns drawn, leaped out from behind a hallway door.
"Put your hands up! We're federal officers!"
O'Connor turned, and according to agents' reports, fired his .45 caliber automatic twice, with the bullets ending up in the stair rail. Mclnerney never got to reach for his .38 caliber; the agents returned fire and pumped at least thirty-five shells into the two convicts.
Roger and Banghart arrived back at the apartment about an hour later. Recalling the incident Touhy wrote, "We went to the Kenmore flat and up the back stairway after I had parked the car a block away...the joint felt creepy to me, and I prowled around uneasy as an alley tomcat at midnight mating time and peered out the windows."
At zero hour, powerful search lights were turned on to the windows of Touhy's apartment and then a loud speaker cracked the silence of the night with "Roger Touhy and the other escaped convicts! The building is surrounded. We are about to throw tear gas in the building. Surrender now and you will not be killed."
Banghart wanted to shoot it out, but Roger negated this move. They debated over what to do for the next ten minutes before Banghart shouted out the window "We're coming out!"
"Then come out backward with your hands high in the air! Banghart, you come out first."
Banghart, wearing only his pants, appeared at the front door, his back to the agents. Roger, clad in fire-engine-red pajamas, followed him.
The agents leaped on each of them as they came out of the building and knocked them to the freezing cold pavement and handcuffed them.
A dozen agents rushed into the apartment and found five pistols, three sawed off shotguns, a .30.30 rifle and $13,523 in cash which they handed over to Tubbo Gilbert who was still the Chief Investigator for the States Attorney's Office.
When Gilbert returned the cash to the prisoners at Stateville prison, he said that he had only been given $800 by the FBI.
After Touhy and Banghart were handcuffed, J. Edgar Hoover, surrounded by a dozen agents and a dozen more newspaper reporters, strolled up to Banghart and said "Well, Banghart, you're a trapped rat."
Banghart burst out into a huge smile. "You're J. Edgar Hoover aren't you?" he asked.
'Yes," Hoover beamed, "I am."
Banghart nodded his head and said, 'You're a lot fatter in person than you are on the radio."
Later the next day, Warden Joseph Ragen came to the Cook County criminal courts building to collect his prisoners. When Touhy, who had chains around his waist, ankles and wrists saw him he said, "Well Warden, looks like I got you your old job back." Ragen nodded and smiled at the irony 'Yes, Touhy, it looks like you did."
A parade of eight cars filled with four heavily armed States Attorney's detectives drove the prisoners back to Stateville. Each was sent to solitary confinement where they survived on bread and water with a full meal every third day.
Roger was taken out of solitary several days later and brought before a judge who told him, to his amazement, that his sentence was now 199 years because under a little known Illinois law, anyone who abets the escape of a state prisoner receives the same sentence as the prisoner they helped escape. The state of Illinois had decided that Touhy should take on Eddie Darlak's sentence of 100 years.
Roger was the first person to be given this sentence under that law. State authorities had had enough of Banghart and his death-defying escapes. He was becoming a convict legend. A week after he was returned to Stateville, Banghart was hauled out of solitary confinement and shipped off to the island prison at Alcatraz. It was a stroke of bad luck for Banghart, because although he could fly a plane and drive a car better and faster than most mere mortals, he had never learned to swim.