Couple sought for questioning in merchant murders
Police investigating the murders of two storeowners in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge are seeking a man and a woman for questioning in connection with the slayings, NBC News reported.
The couple is not suspected of killing the victims, but NBC News reported that police believe the pair might know something about the murders.
Police said the same weapon, a .22 caliber gun, was used to kill both Isaac Kadare, owner of the Amazing 99 Cent Deals store at 1877 86th St. in Bensonhurst, and Mohamed Gebeli, proprietor of Valentino Fashion, at 7718 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge.
In the wake of the murders, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said she will hold a press conference on Aug. 8 to discuss crime prevention services that merchants and residents can employ from local police precincts to better protect themselves.
The services include free security surveys by crime prevention officers. Malliotakis will be joined by Ilene Sacco, president of the 68th Precinct Community Council, and by local business leaders, at the press conference, to take place on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street at 1 p.m.
“With the two recent murders taking place in traditionally-safe communities here in Southern Brooklyn, it is critical that business owners utilize every resource available to protect not only their stores and goods, but themselves,” Malliotakis said. “The NYPD offers a variety of services protecting the safety and livelihood of local merchants, including free security surveys that can save lives. Highly-trained police officers tour places of business and issue confidential, written reports to merchants detailing deficiencies in their security mechanisms as well as solutions and additions that will go a long way in preventing crime.”
Meanwhile, police are investigating eerie similarities in the two murders.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told WINS-radio that the killer also used materials to cover up the bodies of the victims. In the case of Gebeli, the killer covered up the body with clothing. Kadare’s body was covered with pots, Kelly stated.
Kadare was found shot to death inside his 99-cent store at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, police said. The 59-year-old victim had been shot in the head and stabbed in the neck, police said.
Gebeli was shot once in the neck inside his clothing store on July 6.
Police have increased street patrols of the two shopping strips, 86th Street in Bensonhurst and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge.
Kadare, a Sephardic Jew, was born in Egypt. Gebeli, 65, who was Muslim, was also born in Egypt.
State Sen. Marty Golden and Councilman David Greenfield have each posted rewards in an effort to spur the investigation. The reward money will be paid to anyone who provides police with information leading to the killer.
Anyone with information is asked to call the 62nd Precinct at (718) 236-2611, or the 68th Precinct at (718) 439-4211, or to visit the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
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