Local
12:58 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Pittsburgh Armored Car Shooting Suspect Nabbed in Florida

A man wanted on charges he stole more than $2 million from an armored car he was paid to guard in Pittsburgh, murdering his partner in the process, was arrested Tuesday morning in Florida, an attorney and a federal prosecutor said.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton of Pittsburgh told The Associated Press that 22-year-old Kenneth Konias Jr. had been arrested in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Konias' parents, Kenneth Sr. and Renee, were briefed about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday by local law enforcement officials that their son was now in FBI custody somewhere in Florida, LoPresti said. The attorney said they weren't given any further information.

"I can tell you that the parents are both relieved that he's now in custody, that the search is over for him, and they want the wheels of justice to turn fairly," he said. LoPresti and Konias' parents had made a public appeal for him to surrender on Pittsburgh TV news stations on March 21.

"They're very relieved that nobody, including their own son, is in danger now that the search is done," LoPresti said.

Pittsburgh police did not immediately comment, but FBI agents in Pittsburgh planned a news conference later Tuesday morning.

The FBI field office in Miami released a short statement saying only that Konias was arrested without incident with help from the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the South Florida Violent Crimes Task Force.

Konias allegedly fatally shot fellow Garda Cash Logistics guard Michael Haines before fleeing with money from the truck they were guarding on Feb. 28 in Pittsburgh. He is charged by Pittsburgh police with criminal homicide, theft by unlawful taking and robbery. He's also charged by the FBI in Pittsburgh with a Hobbs Act robbery — that is, a robbery affecting interstate commerce — and using a firearm in a crime of violence.

Konias was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on those charges Tuesday morning.

Pittsburgh auto squad detectives were conducting another investigation on Feb. 28 when they drove past the Garda armored car, which had been left idling under a bridge, and saw supervisors from that company at the scene about 3:45 p.m. that day.

Inside, a Garda official found Haines shot in the back of the head, and his duty pistol missing — along with Konias and what authorities would later determine was about $2.3 million, according to an FBI criminal affidavit filed last month. Video surveillance of Garda headquarters showed Konias jumping into his SUV and speeding out of the parking lot just before 1:30 p.m. that day, or more than two hours before the abandoned armored car was found.

When police went to the home Konias shared with his parents, they found blood on his uniform jacket. His parents said Konias had left shortly after returning from work and a friend of Konias later told police he had called about 1:05 p.m. to say, "I (screwed) up. My life is over."

When the witness asked Konias if he had a bad day at work or got a girl pregnant, he replied "Worse than that."

"What, did you kill someone?" the witness asked. After several seconds of silence, Konias said, "Yes" before asking that person to run away with him and stating "he had enough money to live on for the rest of their lives," the affidavit said.

Authorities have previously said they recovered about $275,000, including about $250,000 stashed under a car at the Dravosburg home he shared with his parents and about $24,000 found a day earlier at the grave of a family member.

Officials say Konias asked one family member or friend about extradition laws in Canada and Mexico during a call shortly after the robbery-murder.

A Pittsburgh Fugitive Task Force member told the AP on condition of anonymity that the search for Konias was complicated by the fact that the stolen money was untraceable and in smaller denominations, mostly $20 bills and below.

The money was shrink-wrapped and, despite the amount believed stolen, it could likely fit in a container about the size of a foot locker. The source spoke anonymously because those details had not been publicly released by investigators.

It was not immediately clear whether any other money has been recovered during or since Konias' arrest.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.