‘Duffel Bag’ Killer Convicted of Killing Three Brooklyn Shopkeepers

BROOKLYN -

A man dubbed the “John Doe Duffel Bag” murderer was convicted in the killings of three Brooklyn shopkeepers — two of them Jewish and a third he thought was a Jew.

Jurors deliberated for less than half an hour in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn before finding Salvatore Perrone guilty of three counts of murder, according to the Daily News. He earned his moniker for the oversized black bag he carried around with him.

A police detective testified that the 67-year-old Staten Island man had carried a duffel bag containing a sawed-off rifle, a bloody knife, screwdrivers, switchblades, bleach, and a bloody handkerchief.

The three storekeepers had been shot. Two of the three were Jews of Middle Eastern descent; the third was a Muslim but Perrone told police he thought the man was Jewish. They are Mohamed Gebeli, 65, from Egypt, Isaac Kadare, Hy”d, 59, a Jewish émigré from Egypt, and Rahmatollah Vahidipour, Hy”d, 78, an Iranian Jew.

The killings in the summer of 2012 cast a pall of fear over middle-aged Jewish shopkeepers, who appeared to be targeted by some unknown and unpredictable killer. Perrone’s capture led others to come forward, and they described how he used to scope their stores at around closing time. One thing that turned him off, police said, was the presence of surveillance cameras.

“It’s an important verdict,” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced. “This ruthless killer should spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Brooklyn is safer because this man was convicted.”

Perrone was a frequent visitor on Boro Park’s 13th Avenue, toting his infamous bag while purchasing items and paying with bad checks. He told police after his arrest that he was a member of the “Palestinian section of the CIA.”

Perrone denied the charges against him and had several outbursts in court. He argued he didn’t shoot anyone and was being framed. But Assistant DA Melissa Carvajal said that “everything Mr. Perone did was calculated and methodical.” She noted that “all his outbursts came when there was key evidence presented against him.”

He faces a penalty of up to life in prison when he’s sentenced on March 4.