New York City police arrested “John Doe Duffel Bag” Wednesday on suspicion of the murder of three Brooklyn shopkeepers. The New York Police Department identified the man, real name Salvatore Perrone, as a resident of Staten Island.
The NYPD arrested Perrone, 63, after identifying him from surveillance camera footage near the most recent murder, which occurred on Friday, reports the Associated Press. Perrone was carrying a duffel bag and was soon nicknamed “John Doe Duffel Bag” by the police.
The first killing occurred on July 6. Mohamed Gebeli was shot and killed in Valentino Fashion Inc., the store he owned. On Aug. 6, Isaac Kadare was shot and killed in the store he owned, Amazing 99 Cent Deal. On Nov. 16, Rahmatollah Vahidipour was shot and killed in his store, She She Boutique, notes AP.
All three were shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. The first two Brooklyn shopkeepers were from Egypt while the third victim was from Iran, reports AP. All of them were found covered with either clothing or a cardboard box and were within a five-mile radius, notes ABC News.
Perrone was identified by an individual from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, reports the New York Daily News. Police then traced him to his girlfriend's apartment in Midwood, also in Brooklyn. Police said they arrested Perrone at her apartment and found a sawed-off rile that was used in the three killings in a bag that he was seen carrying in the surveillance footage. Ballistic tests from the three shooting deaths matched the gun that was recovered.
Daily News said the duffel bag also contained a bloody knife, two folding knives, gloves and legless pantyhose and identified the sawed-off rifle as a Ruger.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly did not speculate on a motive for the crimes. There were some similarities in the cases, including the victims being killed right before store closing, being in their 50s and their Middle Eastern origins, but other details were not consistent. While the same gun was used, police were unsure if each shopkeeper was robbed, notes ABC News. The Daily News also notes that Perrone and the three victims were all balding.
Perrone confessed to two of the murders and is currently being interviewed by police, according to the Daily News. He is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, reports CBSNewYork. A police source speaking to the Staten Island Advance had more details about the confession stating, “he's not making sense. He's giving them three different versions." The Advance's source also said the motive for the killing "has to do with a plan to promote world peace."
Perrone was a door-to-door salesman of fabric he had purchased wholesale from textile mills, reports the Staten Island Advance. The Advance also reported that Kelly said Perrone had visited the three shopkeepers. Perrone was a colorful character to his neighbors, notes Daily News. He lived in a home that was considered to be rather dirty and frequently made calls to police or other authorities about trivial matters. One neighbor that Daily News interviewed believed Perrone was crazy but couldn't believe he was a killer.
Perrone also has a rap sheet which includes stalking an ex-girlfriend, burglary and a drunken driving charge, according to ABC News.
Kelly said, "It's reasonable to assume he was going to keep doing this, and, by arresting him, we saved lives."