FBI's status update: Have you seen this suspected killer?
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Mar 12, 2012
The image of a suspected killer popped up on the FBI’s Facebook Wall on the morning of March 12 in an unlikely place: the comments.
Name: Kenneth John Konias Jr.. His comment: “FBI and USA now go to hell my visa is now in Russia.”
Konias, 22 (pictured right), is on the FBI’s Wanted List for a murder he allegedly committed in Pittsburgh on Feb. 28.
Is the commenter on Facebook the real Konias or an impostor? It is impossible to know for certain at the moment, especially since social media is a relatively new medium where jokes and off-topic comments tend to flourish. Even so, more than 2,000 Facebook and Twitter followers are now tracking the real-life Konias manhunt while the fugitive is on the loose.
The FBI has been asking Facebook and Twitter users to help track him down by spreading the word and photograph in the hopes that a witness will call in with a tip or a sighting.
The FBI posted a request on its Facebook Wall on March 6 to help find Konias, an armored car driver who is accused of fatally shooting his co-worker and stealing $2.3 million cash while on a work shift in Pittsburgh on Feb. 28.
The robbery occurred inside the armored car while Konias and the victim, Michael Haines, were on duty together collecting cash from a casino and a Home Depot, according to news reports.
Police recovered $200,000 of the stolen money from Konias’ parents’ house and $25,000 left at his great-grandmother’s grave.
As of March 12, there were 469 “likes,” 140 comments and 486 shares of the FBI’s Facebook Wall posting about the Konias manhunt.
The FBI’s press office also tweeted about Konias on March 8, with a link to a FBI Web page about him describing the alleged crime and the vehicle involved. That Web page has been shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook and nearly 50 times on Twitter.
It is not the first time that the FBI has gone to Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about individuals it is pursuing. The agency also has been posting notices on its Facebook Wall recently about Boston FBI looking for information about the location of John Joseph Hartin, who has been a fugitive since 1997 after being charged with child abuse. In mid-February, the FBI also posted on Facebook a video about suspects wanted in a November 2011 jewelry heist in Delaware.
However, the Konias manhunt appears to have garnered the most interest, possibly because it was a violent crime and because the FBI posted its request for help within days to catch a suspect on the run.
“He could be anywhere. I hope everyone posts his pic,” was one of the comments on March 7.
“If social media and tips haven't led to this guy already, he has to have made his way across the border,” was another comment on March 8.
Some of the Facebook users claimed to know Konias:
“I worked with Ken at one point, and…he was impulsive, but I will say i liked Ken. There were things that always seemed off, but never thought anything like this would ever happen,” wrote a commenter.
Other commenters had less serious attitude about the alleged crime: "You have 2.5 million dollars. Now I (sic) can buy drugs and hookers and live in a cave," one of them posted.
The FBI has issued a federal arrest warrant for Konias and has urged the public to be cautious, as it is believed he has several weapons.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.