As reported here, after owner Isaac Kadare was murdered in his 99-cent store on 86th Street in Bensonhurst on August 3, the NYPD hung dozens of posters along 3rd and 5th Avenues and went store-to-store in Bay Ridge offering a reward for information leading to the arrest, indictment and conviction of the suspect pictured in the composite at left.
Cops linked Kadare's murder to that of Mohammed Gebeli, found dead just two miles away in his Bay Ridge clothing store the month before.
According to a Daily News report on August 4, witnesses outside Kadare's shop described the suspect as a young Hispanic male about 5'5" and 140 lbs., wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife and
gun. As the suspect left the scene and ran into a Mexican bakery, he bumped into and yelled at one of the witnesses. Moments later, the suspect was seen leaving the
bakery and jumping into a black/gray two-door jeep.
The NYPD never located or identified any of those witnesses.
When, on November 16, a third Brooklyn shop owner, Rahmatollah Vahidipour, was found dead in his Flatbush Avenue clothing store, cops linked the execution-style shooting to the Gebeli and Kadare murders based on the caliber of the recovered bullets, the similarities between the victims, and the similarities between the killer's MO in the three cases.
On November 17, the media labeled the unknown suspect a "serial killer." On November 18, the crimes were characterized as racially motivated. On November 19, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly called for an FBI profiler.
On November 19, a mustached man, "John Doe Duffel Bag," picked up on surveillance
video near the scene of Rahmatollah Vahidipour's murder, was named as a person of interest. On November 20, the New York Times reported that the NYPD was seeking him for questioning.
The next day, November 21, "John Doe Duffel Bag" was under interrogation, first at the 68th and then at the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn. Police said someone in a Bay Ridge pharmacy, who had seen the "John Doe Duffel Bag" photo, had identified the man, and that he had voluntarily come in for questioning.
"John Doe Duffel Bag" was arrested on November 21 and held without bail pending a November 22 arraignment on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of
second-degree murder, and weapons charges.
According to the New York Times, "John Doe Duffel Bag" is Salvatore Perrone, a balding 64-year-old Italian-American clothing salesman from Staten Island who made his rounds on foot carrying his merchandise in a duffel bag.
Cops say he was casing his next crime scene when he was arrested.
According to the NYPD, Perrone, after being interrogated for more than 24 hours, confessed to killing two of the victims under orders from the "Italian CIA".
According to the New York Post, Perrone gave no written or videotaped confession. He stopped talking to the police after a phone conversation with his daughter.
Perrone, pictured above right, bears no resemblance to the unknown suspect described by the unidentified witnesses in the Kadare case.
All of the evidence needed to convict Perrone in the Vahidipour case was found in a duffel bag the NYPD had identified before arresting Perrone. The bag was seized from Perrone's girlfriend's Brooklyn apartment, presumably with her consent, blocking Perrone from challenging the search as non-consensual.
According to the NYPD, ballistics tests matching a .22 rifle found in the duffel bag to the slugs removed from the three victims were completed within hours. That short a turn-around at the ballistics lab is pretty rare.
The .22 is the most commonly-owned caliber of gun in the U.S.
There is no known motive, although there has been speculation about robbery and ethnic hatred as possible motives, and the first two victims may have been robbed.
The assigned counsel who represented Perrone at arraignment on Thursday said that his client, who has only a minor criminal record, denied killing anyone or telling the police he had killed anyone, and appeared to have mental problems.
Perrone's neighbors on Clove Road in Staten Island and his girlfriend's neighbors described him as a crank and a tough guy wannabe who seemed more crazy than scary.
People who did business with Perrone at Garage Clothing in Brooklyn called him "harmless".
Perrone is in protective custody at Rikers.
Has any serial murderer ever started killing after age 60?
Perrone was from Bensonhurst, once owned a clothing shop [Daily News.]
Perrone indicted on six counts of murder [NY 1.]
Cops searching the basement of Perrone's foreclosed Staten Island home for human remains find a rawhide dog chewy [Ditmas Park Patch.]
Blogger Galewyn Massey weighs in on John Doe Duffel Bag the serial killer. Did Marty Golden, Ray Kelly and Charlie Hynes create "Son of Sal"?
Perrone, looking and sounding more than a little cuckoo, enters a "not guilty" plea [CBS News.]
The trial judge, noticing Perrone's erratic behavior, ordered a mental status exam [Brooklyn Eagle.]
"Son of Sal" deemed competent to stand trial [Home Reporter.]
"Sone of Sal" deemed incompetent to stand trial [Daily News.]