Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mother of Fugitive Guard Fears for His Safety She Says Her Son 'Didn't Have a Bad Bone in His Body'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mother of Fugitive Guard Fears for His Safety She Says Her Son 'Didn't Have a Bad Bone in His Body'

Article excerpt

The mother of a fugitive charged with killing a fellow armed security guard in a $2.3 million heist said Friday that the allegations against her son are out of character and she is concerned for his safety.

"We just hope every time the phone rings that it's him or that he has been found," Renee Konias said of her son, Kenneth John Konias Jr., 22.

Mr. Konias is being sought by law enforcement agencies nationwide in the Tuesday slaying of 31-year-old Michael Haines with whom he operated an armored truck for Garda Cash Logistics.

Mrs. Konias said she struggled to reconcile her picture of her son as a popular and mild-mannered young man with the one investigators painted of him as a cold-blooded killer. The FBI on Friday issued a wanted poster describing him as a "violent fugitive" who is dangerous and believed to be armed with at least two semi- automatic pistols, including his partner's 9 mm Glock service weapon.

"That just was not Ken," she said. "He never had a problem with anybody. He didn't have a bad bone in his body. I couldn't have asked for a better kid. The stuff they are saying is crazy."

She was stunned to learn Tuesday that police were seeking her son, an only child who lived with his parents in Dravosburg, for questioning about his partner's death, especially because he had never mentioned Mr. Haines or any strife on the job, she said.

Fellow Garda employees discovered Mr. Haines, of East McKeesport, dead of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head inside the armored truck, which had been parked under the 31st Street Bridge in the Strip District, about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. Police said Mr. Konias vanished about two hours earlier. Also gone was the money. The men had spent the day collecting cash from several locations.

Mrs. Konias said she was at work all day Tuesday and had only spoken to her son briefly when she went to wake him before work. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to her then, nor did it later Tuesday, when police searched their home and recovered her son's uniform jacket, which they described as blood-spattered. Mr. Konias had called his mother about the time Mr. Haines' body was discovered, asking to speak to his father, but when she and a coworker tried to call him back their calls went unanswered, according to police accounts.

"I'm just hoping he's safe," she said. "We just want to find him because it doesn't make sense."

Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said Friday that detectives do not believe Mr. Konias has left the country and were checking tips and reported sightings that were increasing as the case gained national attention. They were also continuing interviews with those who may have interacted with him in the past.

"It looks like he may have discussed some plans to do some type of robbery," the commander said. …

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