PITTSBURGH PA April 24 2012 (AP) — An armored car guard accused of killing his partner in Pittsburgh and making off with more than $2 million was arrested in Florida on Tuesday after nearly two months on the run when someone called Pittsburgh police to report his whereabouts, authorities said.
Investigators recovered more $1 million from a storage locker and the home where Kenneth Konias Jr. was arrested early Tuesday in Pompano Beach, Fla., law enforcement officials said. Konias was arrested without incident at a home where he had been staying, the FBI said.
Special Agent Michael Rodriguez, head of the Pittsburgh FBI office, said Konias was cooperating with agents.
“He admitted his identity and he was cooperative when he was arrested,” Rodriguez said at a news conference announcing the arrest.
Konias had two weapons with him, both handguns, one of which was his company-supplied weapon, which Rodriguez said Konias “indicated that was the weapon he used in the incident.”
Rodriguez estimated investigators recovered between $1.3 and $1.5 million of the missing money — much of it at a nearby storage locker Konias led them to — but as much as a half-million dollars remains unaccounted for.
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 in Florida, Konias’ attorney, Charles LoPresti, said.
“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.
“They’re very relieved that nobody, including their own son, is in danger now that the search is done,” LoPresti said.
Rodriguez didn’t have details about the tip that led to Konias’ arrest, but said Konias had “confided in several individuals” after arriving in Florida.
“I think he may have made the admission that he was remorseful about his activity, some of his activities, in Pittsburgh,” Rodriguez said.
Konias appeared briefly in federal court in Fort Lauderdale a few hours after his arrest and waived his right to a removal hearing, allowing U.S. Marshals to transport him back to Pennsylvania.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton said he’ll confer with Allegheny County prosecutors and Pittsburgh police to determine whether Konias will be prosecuted in Common Pleas court or federally.
Konias is charged by Pittsburgh police with criminal homicide, theft and robbery and by federal authorities with committing a Hobbs Act robbery and discharging a firearm in a crime of violence.
Although federal authorities do not have a specific homicide statute, Konias could be charged in Haines’ death under a different section of the firearms charge he already faces and that would carry either life in prison or the death penalty if he were convicted.
Konias allegedly shot fellow Garda Cash Logistics guard Michael Haines before fleeing with money from the truck they were guarding on Feb. 28 in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh auto squad detectives were conducting another investigation 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.
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, and asked about extradition laws in Canada and Mexico.
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.
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.