Today’s news:

Flatbush murder may be linked to frequent visitor to Bay Ridge

‘Person of interest’ nabbed in Bay Ridge

Brooklyn Daily

The “person of interest” police picked up in Bay Ridge yesterday has been charged with being Southern Brooklyn’s shopkeeper killer, officials say.

Cops nabbed Triple murder suspect Salvatore Perrone — who cops called “John Doe duffel bag” for most of the week since he was seen carrying a duffel bag close to the third crime scene — on Fifth Avenue between 80th and 81st streets, much to the amazement of Bay Ridge merchants.

“I can’t believe they got him right here,” one shopkeeper told Brooklyn Daily.

No one we spoke to knew Perrone, described by police as a Staten Island clothing salesman, but Bay Ridge resident Jason Haith claimed to have seen the arrest take place: Perrone was leaning up against a building at about 6:30 pm when several cop cars pulled up. More than a half dozen plain clothes officers rushed him, but everybody remained calm.

“It seemed very normal. I thought he probably worked in one of these stores around here,” explained Haith, claiming that Perrone was wearing a “Bob Barker suit” and gave the officers his business cards before being taken into custody.

Police sources told us that investigators tracked Perrone down after learning that he frequented Bay Ridge.

“We’d been looking for him for two days,” a police source told Brooklyn Daily. “Detectives narrowed down a few places where this guy had been seen before and sure enough he shows up.”

Investigators interrogated Perrone at the Bay Ridge station house for hours before transferring him to Patrol Borough Brooklyn South headquarters in East Flatbush for more questions.

As he was being questioned, cops allegedly recovered Perrone’s duffel bag at his girlfriend’s home. A bloody knife and a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle was found inside the bag, investigators claim. Ballistics later proved that the gun was used to kill Mohammed Gebeli inside Valentino Fashion on Fifth Avenue between 77th and 78th streets on July 6, Isaac Kadare inside Amazing 99-Cent and Up Deals near the corner of 86th Street and 20th Avenue on Aug. 2, and Vahidipour Rahmatollah at She She Inc. on Flatbush Avenue at Linden Boulevard last week, police allege. All three men are of middle eastern descent.

Investigators formally arrested and charged Perrone with the three killings on Wednesday night.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it was only a matter of time before Perrone would strike again.

“He went to other locations and asked questions that indicated he may have been planning to come back,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a news conference on Wednesday evening. “It’s reasonable to assume he was going to continue doing this.”

Cops were dispatched to She She Inc., at 7:17 pm on Nov. 16 after Rahmatollah, the latest victim in the spree, was found dead inside his store.

The 78-year-old had been shot in the head — a killing that quickly brought back memories of the slaying of Kadare.

An autopsy revealed that Kadare died from a bullet to the skull — a bullet fired from the same .22-caliber gun that killed Gebeli in his Bay Ridge clothing store. Gebeli had been shot in the neck, police sources say.

Detectives released then scrapped a sketch of a previous person of interest, and said investigators have a line on two possible witnesses to the crime, but no one had been taken into custody until this week, police said.

Police sources say that Rahmatollah had been shot behind the counter, dragged about 10 feet and covered up with items from the store — the same way that both of the previous victims had been found.

Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

Updated 6:53 pm, November 21, 2012: Story was updated to add additional information.
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