PITTSBURGH -- While the killer of an armored car driver remains at large, Channel 4 Action News has confirmed through police sources that approximately $2.3 million was taken during Tuesday's Strip District heist.
Some of the stolen cash was from Rivers Casino on the North Shore, where the armored vehicle from Garda Cash Logistics made a morning pickup. The car also stopped at Home Depot in Ross Township and was scheduled to go to Kmart on McKnight Road.
Officially, Pittsburgh police will only confirm that something was taken from the vehicle, but they won't give a dollar amount.
Police and the district attorney's office are preparing a criminal complaint that will charge Ken Konias Jr., 22, of Dravosburg, with homicide and robbery. The victim was identified as his co-worker, Michael Haines,
Our belief is that he planned to rob the company, and if he had to kill the guard, he planned to do that," District Attorney Stephen Zappala said. "That's pretty cold-blooded."
Police said they believe Konias to be armed and dangerous with two semiautomatic guns and his dead partner's duty weapon, a Glock 9mm. He is described as white, 6 feet tall, with very short hair or bald. Anyone who sees him or knows where he is should call police.
Konias was originally thought to be driving a tan 2002 Ford Explorer with Pennsylvania license plate GZW-4572. But now, police say he may be driving a tan or champagne 2006 Explorer (pictured, left) with the same license plate from the older model.
"That guy -- if you're still out there, turn yourself in, man. You took a best friend, a roommate, someone that so many people love. His parents, they love him so much," roommate Joe Krsul said.
Investigators from the police bureau and the district attorney's office think Konias ditched the armored car with Haines still inside it after killing the man somewhere else.
Evidence shows that Konias called someone identified as "Witness 1" at about 1:05 p.m., and later called his mother while she was at work at about 3:45 p.m.
From the criminal complaint:
"At the time of this conversation with Kenneth Konias, Konias made statements such as, 'I (expletive) up. My life is over.' Witness #1 asked Konias if he was having a bad day at work, or did he get a girl pregnant. Konias answered, 'Worse than that'. Witness #1 then said to Konias, 'What, did you kill someone?' Witness #1 reports that Konias was silent for several seconds and then he answered, 'Yes'. Konias then stated that he was in possession of a large amount of money. Konias began begging Witness #1 to take off with him. Konias told Witness #1 that he had enough money so that he and the witness would never have to work again."
Zappala said detectives have assembled the following timeline, based on their witness interviews and surveillance video footage from cameras in the Strip.
• 1:23 p.m. -- The armored vehicle is seen in a lot below the 31st Street Bridge.
• 1:26 p.m. -- Konias is seen running toward his personal vehicle in the nearby Garda parking lot.
• 1:30 p.m. -- Konias' vehicle is seen driving away.
• Between 1:30 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. -- Konias goes to his parents' home in Dravosburg, then leaves.
• 3:40 p.m. -- Haines is found shot to death in the armored car, parked and idling in the same lot.
• Later Tuesday afternoon -- Police go to the Konias home and find a Garda jacket with possible blood on it.
• Somewhere along the way, Konias' cellphone is found near a doughnut shop on Route 51.
The possibility that Haines, 31, of East McKeesport, could have been involved in the robbery was ruled out by detectives.
"All the evidence indicates the deceased is a straight-arrow type of guy. Everything is black and white," Zappala said.
"I want Mike to be remembered more as the genuine person that he is, and not just a man that was shot in the back of a car," said longtime friend Darin DiNapoli, who began crying as he spoke. "I think that's the one thing ... I don't want him to just be a statistic, because he's a very inspirational person and a really good friend."
"He would come home from work and he was proud, he'd pump his chest out, and that's how I knew Mike," Krsul said.
Garda is offering a $100,000 reward. The company has a local office on 33rd Street, just two blocks away from the crime scene.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened at the death of our colleague and extend our condolences to his family. We are continuing to assist law enforcement in its investigation of this incident," Garda said in a statement.
City police Cmdr. Tom Stangrecki said investigators have yet to recover any of the missing money. The FBI is doing an audit.