(NEW YORK) — The man known as “John Doe Duffel Bag” was arrested today in connection with the slayings of three shopkeepers of Middle Eastern descent in Brooklyn.
Salvatore Perrone, 63, was arrested following a long night of questioning by detectives.
Officials tell ABC News that Perrone has been charged with three counts of murders. He has made admissions to police in connection with committing two of the murders, but stopped talking before any discussion of the third, law enforcement sources said.
He had been brought into custody Tuesday evening when, acting on tips, police picked him up at a pharmacy he was known to frequent.
A search warrant was executed while he was being questioned and his duffel bag was seized and searched.
Inside it was a cutdown .22 caliber rifle whose ballistics matched those of the bullets that killed the three murder victims, a bloody knife, .22 caliber bullets, two other knives and women’s stockings, law enforcement officials said.
All three slain men were killed by .22 caliber slugs and one was stabbed as well as shot.The murders took place in July, August and last Friday.
Perrone, a Staten Island resident has a rap sheet that includes stalking a former girlfriend and kicking in her door, burglary and driving while intoxicated on Staten Island.
The suspect had connections with the clothing business and possibly once had a clothing store, officials said. He reportedly carried merchandise in his duffel bag, law enforcement sources said.
Clothing or cardboard was used to cover the bodies of the murder victims, police have said.
The man was captured on video last Friday at 6 p.m. within a block and a half of the latest crime scene, a women’s boutique on Flatbush Avenue. The latest victim, 78-year-old Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 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, a Jewish man from Egypt, 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.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire