FBI: Konias captured in Florida with guns, $1 million cash
April 24, 2012 8:30 PM
Pittsburgh police comb the Garda armored truck and the area where it was found Feb. 28 under the 31st Street Bridge.
The house in Pompano Beach, Fla. where Kenneth Konias was captured late last night.
Pittsburgh police investigating the Feb. 28 Garda Cash Logistics armored-truck robbery. Suspect Ken Konias was just arrested in Florida in connection with the heist and the killing of work partner Michael Haines.
By Sadie Gurman Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Authorities in Pompano Beach, Fla., have arrested Kenneth Konias Jr., the fugitive wanted in the killing of a fellow armored car guard and theft of $2.3 million nearly two months ago.
Michael Rodriguez, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh field office, said this morning at a news conference that Pittsburgh police got a tip by phone from Pompano Beach at about 9 p.m. Monday.
By midnight, the FBI, Broward Sheriff's Office and South Florida Violent Crimes Task Force had taken him into custody without incident at a house at 603 S.W. Eighth St.
Along with Mr. Konias, Mr. Rodriguez said, authorities found two firearms -- one his company-issued handgun -- and between $1.3 million and $1.5 million in cash split between the Eighth Street house and a storage locker not far away.
Ken Konias, upon capture
Mr. Rodriguez said authorities weren't sure what Mr. Konias, 22, was doing there.
Mr. Rodriguez would not identify the tipster, but speculated that it was someone who had come in contact with Mr. Konias, Googled his name, realized who he was and made the call.
"He may have made admissions that he was remorseful about some of his actions to someone" and that person turned Mr. Konias in, Mr. Rodriguez said. Authorities said Mr. Konias admitted his identity and was cooperative.
But Post-Gazette reporters in Pompano Beach have learned that in the two weeks before his arrest, Mr. Konias rented a bedroom in the small, white-washed house in a run-down
neighborhood with a woman whom he lavished with clothing and
jewelry and talked about plans of moving to Jamaica.
But about a week ago, he and the woman had an argument and he locked her out of the room, said Shewona Flowers, who sometimes stayed at the house.
Ms. Flowers said he dressed unassumingly in jeans and polo shirts, but routinely carried two guns in his waistband.
He never conversed with housemate Leon Flowers, Ms. Flowers' son,whose uncle Richard manages the property.
"We would all talk in the house and he would just stay in the room," said Mr. Flowers, 27, who lived at 603 Southwest 8th St. in the city's Cypress neighborhood for the past two years with his two small children. "He was quiet."
When police arrived at the house at 12:05 a.m., Mr. Flowers said they banged on the door "real loud" and shouted that "if everyone didn't leave the house, they'd send dogs in."
This afternoon, a bed with dingy sheets and a pile of blankets and stuffed animals remained in Mr. Konias' room, along with a trash can with an empty pack of Newport cigarettes and a half-empty bottle of Richard's Wild Irish Rose whiskey.
Mr. Konias appeared before a federal magistrate in Fort Lauderdale this morning, where he waived his right to a detention hearing.
He will be brought back to Pittsburgh, possibly within the week.
Mr. Konias has been the target of a nationwide manhunt since Feb. 28, when fellow Garda Cash Logistics employees discovered the body of Michael Haines, 31, inside an armored truck idling beneath the 31st Street Bridge in the Strip District.
Police said Mr. Konias shot his partner in the back of the head. Missing was $2.3 million in untraceable cash.
Mr. Konias is charged with homicide, theft by unlawful taking and robbery. He is also charged with the federal crimes of violating the Hobbs Act for a robbery affecting interstate commerce and using a firearm in a crime of violence.
Mr. Haines' family said last week that they were eager to see resolution in the case.
"They absolutely had not given up hope," attorney John Bacharach said this afternoon on behalf of Larry and Ann Haines. "They were obviously confident he would be captured, it was just a matter of time."
Mr. Bacharach said the family was grateful for the efforts of law enforcement, who kept them informed at all times.
"Having Mr. Konias out and about what's not good for them," he said. "This helps."
Neither could Mr. Konias' parents, Kenneth Sr. and Renee. No one answered the door of their home in Dravosburg.
Attorney Charles LoPresti, who is representing the Konias' family, said his parents were briefed early today about the arrest.
Mr. LoPresti said he had passed his phone number through police to Mr. Konias should he wish to contact his parents, but he had not been in touch as of early this morning.
"They are anxious to speak to their son, which I expect in time will occur," Mr. LoPresti said.
Garda Cash Logistics, based in Boca Raton, issued a statement that said the company "extends its sincere appreciation to law enforcement and all involved in the investigative process leading to the arrest of the suspect. We are continuing to provide our full cooperation."
A Garda spokesman made no comment about what might happen to the $100,000 reward the company offered for information leading to the capture and conviction of Mr. Konias. U.S. Attorney David Hickton today said it was too early to speculate about how the money might be awarded.