(NEW YORK) — A sawed-off rifle and bloody knife were recovered as detectives continued to question “John Doe Duffel Bag” in connection with the slayings of three Middle Eastern Brooklyn, N.Y., shopkeepers, a police official told ABC News.
The Staten Island, N.Y., man in his 60s was taken into custody Tuesday night following tips to police from Brooklyn residents who recognized him in video recorded near two of three shopkeeper slayings in Brooklyn.
He has not as yet been charged with any crime.
According to officials, a Ruger 10-22 rifle with a sawed-off stock and an improvised combination laser/light attached to its barrel was found Wednesday in a duffel bag belonging to the individual dubbed “John Doe Duffel Bag” by police.
An official said that the weapon uses .22 ammunition consistent with ballistics found at each of the three separate crime scenes where three proprietors were shot and killed at close range in July, August and this past Friday.
The bag also contained .22 caliber ammunition, two knives, “one of which appeared to have blood on it,” along with black gloves and women’s stockings, the official told ABC News.
The man taken into custody had connections with the clothing business — and possibly once had a clothing store — and reportedly carried merchandise in his duffel bag, law enforcement sources said.
Clothing was used to cover the bodies of the murder victims, police have said.
Detectives are still talking to the individual who was captured on video Friday at 6:00 p.m. within a block and a half of the latest crime scene — a women’s boutique on Flatbush Avenue. The latest victim, Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 78, was killed sometime between 4:30 p.m. and 7:11 p.m. on Friday.
The second video, from Aug. 2, appeared to show “John Doe Duffel Bag” near the Bensonhurst shop where Isaac Kadare was murdered with the same .22 caliber gun that was used to kill Vahidipour, sources told ABC News.
On July 6, clothing store owner Mohamed Gebeli, an Egyptian Muslim, was killed inside Valentino Fashion in Bay Ridge. Gebeli was shot in the neck and was found with several pieces of clothing on top of him. Police said $383 in receipts was missing, but $1,500 was found inside a cabinet.
The trio of killings took place within a five-mile radius, each occurred at a small shop that lacked security cameras, and each victim was over 50, police said. It was not clear whether the victims were robbed.
Rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crimes.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire