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NYPD Investigating Hate as Possible Motive in Brooklyn Murders

By Bill Morlin on November 20, 2012 - 1:25 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Hate Crime

UPDATE: Police in New York City arrested Salvatore Perrone, 64, over the Thanksgiving weekend and charged him with using a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle he carried in a duffel bag to kill three Brooklyn shopkeepers in the last four months. People who saw surveillance footage of Perrone, who’s white, pointed police to Perrone, despite an artist’s drawing that depicted a balding black man as the suspect. Dubbed “Son of Sal” by his neighbors for his annoying conduct, Perrone may have had previous contact with his victims through his work as a fabric and garment salesman who wanted to start his own clothing line, according to media accounts. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, an additional count filed because he allegedly killed three people within two years.

Hate crime detectives in New York City are joining the investigation into three unsolved killings of Brooklyn business owners in the past four months – crimes believed to have been carried out by a serial killer.

All three victims were shot with the same .22 caliber handgun, all three were immigrants from the Middle East, all three worked alone without security cameras and all three businesses have the number 8 in their address, authorities say.

The latest victim, Rahmatollah Vahidipour, 78, a Jewish immigrant from Iran, was fatally shot Friday in his business, She She Boutique on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. That homicide followed the Aug. 6 killing of Isaac Kadare, 59, a Jewish immigrant from Egypt, who was fatally shot in his Bensonhurst store, Amazing 99 Cent Deal.

The spree began with the July 6 killing of Mohammed Gebeli, 65, an Egyptian immigrant and a Muslim, found murdered in his business, Valentino Fashion Inc., in Bay Ridge. Detectives are “exploring a few similarities among the three murders,” The New York Times reported in Sunday’s editions.

Cash was stolen in the first two homicides, but not in the most recent murder, authorities say. Investigators assigned to the Police Department’s Task Force on Hate Crimes have been brought in to assist with the investigation, the newspaper reported. But Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said there was at this point no clear evidence indicating the three murders were bias crimes.

However, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there is a reason hate crime experts have been added to the investigation. “The possibility of a bias motive here is something that can’t be excluded,’’ Kelly told a reporter for NBC 4 New York. FBI behavior analysts also are now assisting the investigators, according to various media reports.

Police released a composite drawing of the suspect, described as a 5-foot-5-inch tall black man, 140 pounds and wearing sunglasses. Another similarity in the three murders is each of the businesses has the number 8 in its address. However, investigators are “downplaying the theory that the killer is obsessed with numerology,” the New York Daily News reported.

“There is nothing to indicate anything beyond coincidence in the numbers,” a police source told the newspaper. Police are telling storeowners to not work alone and consider adding security cameras. The three homicides are frightening other business owners, according to media outlets.

“Pretty nerve-wracking that a serial killer is on the loose in Brooklyn,’’ Howard Prince, the manager of a business near the She She Boutique told NBC 4 News. “I mean that’s not the part that concerns me,’’ he said. “The part that concerns me is you take somebody’s life that’s 78-years-old, for no reason”

  • Reynardine

    NYPD detectives, I meant to say. Damn, I was tired.

  • Xavier

    Huh, I wonder where Jorge is today? I wonder if he knows the police investigator who messed this one up so badly.

  • Reynardine

    Perrone, who ought never to have been mistaken for a black man, appears to have thought he was being ordered to kill specific victims by “the Italian CIA”. He confided this to a couple of Italian-speaking CIA detectives who took him into their confidence. His motive seems to be that he’s nuts. Whether he meets New York’s standard for insanity remains to be seen. He was apparently prepared to follow further murderous instructions from “the Italian CIA”, though.

  • Reynardine

    Well, it’s not the Pom Pom Bandit, anyhow, though this guy is kind of old to be doing that.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Jorge, Philip, I can assure you, I’m outraged, any time a hate crime is committed, regardless of who the perpetrator is.

    Not all killings are done for reasons of racial or ethnic hatred, but when that is the underlying reason for the killing, as opposed to revenge, financial gain, or a domestic dispute, attention must be paid in prosecution.

    In any case, your sarcasm is misplaced…the NYPD arrested a white man in connection with this crime. Maybe you should wait for all the facts to come out before acting smarmy and condescending.

    Seems it’s a white guy after all. Let’s see YOUR outrage. Or at least your excuses.

  • aadila

    Jorge, I think you have identified the exception that proves the rule. If there were no hate crimes committed by non-whites, that would indeed be a suspicious rubric, even dubious in its singularity.

    But since we see that there is a standard deviation, as one would expect of statistically meaningful data, it makes all the more sense to focus priorities on where hate seems to originate in America: predominately white people with sympathies for the right wing.

  • Reynardine

    I was saying it is probably not the Pom Pom Bandit because, like me, he would be getting too old for shenanigans, but since the NYPD has him, we’ll soon find out who the perp is.

    Picking out members of an outgroup to rob because you think they won’t go to the police is not quite the same as targeting them for murder because you hate them, but both get you Murder 1. New York no longer has the death penalty. The Feds have, which means if the latter was the motive, this perp might find himself under a jurisdiction with capital punishment. Statistically, hate murderers in this country are more likely to be white, but if one isn’t, that’s no bar to federal jurisdiction.

  • Aron

    To all of you idiots complaining about the possibility this may be a hate crime (I’m looking at you, Jorge and Philip), go jump in a lake. This isn’t ‘thoughtcrime.’ This is multiple murders with a possible bias addition.

    Get lost, losers.

  • Philip

    I would say that if someone killed someone else then chances are that they certainly didn’t care too much for them. ‘Hate’ would not seem much of a stretch. Of course, here the SPLC is attempting to use ‘hate’ in a political sense. In other words, we have to be very concerned about the possibility of political motivation behind the murder. It’s not enough to capture and punish the criminal – a statement about his political motivations must be made. Thinkcrime must be punished.

  • Jorge

    What? A black guy committed a “hate crime? I’m shocked!
    Everyone knows blacks can’t hate and it’s only whites who commit hate crimes…I also notice there are very few comments on this story..I bet anything if the perp had been white, all of you would be having a meltdown

  • Sam Molloy

    The NYPD announced that they caught this murderer, have his weapon and the ballistics tests show that it is the murder weapon. Kudos to the NYPD.

  • Jorge

    He was black? Well I for one am shocked! I thought only whites could commit hate crimes? For if he was white, you posters would be having a meltdown..
    Also, given the lack of outrage on here, I’m sure that when the rest of the peanut gallery chimes in, it’ll just be more of the same.

  • Sam Molloy

    Could be the PomPom Bandit, criminals are often let loose after an unbelievably short time to continue preying on decent people.

  • Reynardine

    The Pom Pom Bandit was busted some time around 1980, if memory serves me. He was a mean little shrimp of about the description of this perp, and at the time, he used to target moms with dirty laundry when they were alone in the lobby, because he knew they had cash. He was a thorough little bully who was especially vicious because he was a shrimp. He was shot and wounded by an off-duty police officer as he was robbing someone, and got sent away. It can’t be him, but it might be a similar profile: a mean shrimp targeting lonely members of an outgroup he thinks would be scared to go to the authorities, or wouldn’t be believed if they did. If he thinks he is targeting Muslims, he might believe they’re less likely to have a German Shepherd behind the counter.

  • CriticalDragon177


    You wrote,
    Sounds like the Pom Pom Bandit, except he’d be old by now. One possibility is that he was scared off his last victim before he could take the money. Or it could, indeed, be a bias crime, if he is too stupid to know the difference between a Muslim and a Jew. In all likelihood, given the origins of the victims, any bias would be anti-Muslim rather than anti-Jewish. Or the third killing could have been personal, and the murder using the first two as a screen. Holmes, what do you think? (Indicative, Watson)

    I never heard of the Pom Pom bandit. One problem with this being a series of anti Muslims hate crimes is that if you were to target three men in New York of middle Eastern decent, and assumed they were Muslims based on either their appearance or nation of origin, what would be the chances that two of them would actually turn out to be Jewish? Still its not impossible.

  • adamhill

    I wonder if the crimes were committed far apart from each other. And how many businesses in NYC have (Middle-eastern-appearing) people working alone without security cameras. Both factors would relate to the probablity that this guy was deliberately targeting a specific racial group.

    The 8 in the addresses probably is just a coincidence.

  • Reynardine

    Sounds like the Pom Pom Bandit, except he’d be old by now. One possibility is that he was scared off his last victim before he could take the money. Or it could, indeed, be a bias crime, if he is too stupid to know the difference between a Muslim and a Jew. In all likelihood, given the origins of the victims, any bias would be anti-Muslim rather than anti-Jewish. Or the third killing could have been personal, and the murder using the first two as a screen. Holmes, what do you think? (Indicative, Watson)