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Garment salesman arrested in deaths of 3 New York shopkeepers

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 9:04 p.m.

NEW YORK — A balding garment salesman was arrested Wednesday for systematically killing three shopkeepers as they worked alone in their clothing stores and he had been poised to strike again, police said.

Salvatore Perrone, 63, was taken into custody after a pharmacy worker recognized him as the man shown in surveillance footage leaving the scene of the most recent shooting, on Friday, with a duffel bag, police said.

Another shopkeeper came forward and said Perrone had gone into his store and questioned him on whether he worked alone and when he closed, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. Police devoted scores of detectives to the case, he said.

“It's reasonable to assume he was going to keep doing this, and, by arresting him, we saved lives,” Kelly said at a news conference.

Perrone, of Staten Island, was arrested on charges of murder. He was in custody Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment. A message left on his cellphone was not returned, and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Detectives said they found the duffel bag at his girlfriend's home. Inside, they said, was a sawed-off rifle used in the killings, along with .22-caliber ammunition, block gloves, women's clothing, a bloody knife and a bottle of bleach.

Perrone's fingerprint was lifted from the murder weapon, Kelly said.

Initially, authorities thought the killer might have targeted the Brooklyn shopkeepers, who were from Iran and Egypt, because of their Middle Eastern backgrounds. But on Wednesday Kelly said there was no motive he could speak of.

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