Neighbors react to “Son of Sal”

Salvatore Perrone was indicted in Brooklyn Supreme Court on November 27 and charged with first degree murder, although he was not present.

Perrone is accused of gunning down three Brooklyn shopkeepers, Mohamed Gebeli on July 6 in Bay Ridge, Isaac Kadare on August 2 in Bensonhurst and most recently Rahmatollah Vahidipour on November 16 in Flatbush.

All men had family-owned and operated businesses and were shot in their stores, just before closing time, with the same .22 caliber gun.

Sami Alwarrad, owner of Sam’s Fifth Avenue Outlet near 78th Street in Bay Ridge, said that he was a friend of Perrone’s for the past decade and that Perrone was at his store on the night of the last murder.

“He talked to me outside and wanted to sell clothes,” Alwarrad recalled. “But I said no. I never bought anything from him.”

Alwarrad said that Perrone used to own a clothing store on Fifth Avenue between 76th Street and 77th Street, which is how they met. Perrone frequently tried to sell clothing to merchants along the busy shopping strip. The two also regularly attended dances at the Knights of Columbus at 86th Street and 13th Avenue, where the man alleged to be a serial killer socialized and blended in with the crowd, said Alwarrad.

“I know him very well, he was very friendly,” he remarked of the suspect. “But if someone told me before that he was a killer, I wouldn’t believe it.”

This paper also spoke with a former employee of Perrone’s, who worked at the clothing store during the 1980s.

“He was always a little strange, but you never thought he would do something like this,” said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “He did weird things, like double-checking himself all the time. He would walk in and out of the door; open it [and] close it. He would write a check out and check it a thousand times.”

But the former employee insists that Perrone and his ex-wife were “nice people. I can’t believe this, but like I said, he was very strange. When I looked at the paper, I honestly can’t believe it was his face. I was totally, totally shocked. You never really know a person.”

Perrone used to fill prescriptions at Nu-Edge Pharmacy, located across the street from Valentino’s Fashion, the location of the first slaying, but stopped coming in sometime in February, recalled pharmacist George A.

He was very friendly. He always dressed nicely and was holding a big cigar,” he added.

Perrone did have some strange tendencies. “When he got his medication, he would sit down and examine each tablet by itself,” George said. “We would make jokes about it and he would laugh. But everyone feels safer now [that he is off the streets].”

Over in Bath Beach, Perrone used to frequent Pizza Den on 18th Avenue. The manager, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Perrone would often be smiling, laughing and joking, except for one night, just after the second murder happened.

“He started walking back and forth, from the bathroom [to the counter],” he recalled. “I said, ‘Do you want to eat? You are scaring my customers. They think you are a gangster.’ And he just smiled. Now I know what that smile was about. Maybe he wanted to kill me!”

The manager added that he told everyone he spoke to that he lived at a different location, including Ocean Parkway, Avenue I and Avenue J. “He always had a different story.”

Debra Kruchkow at Kruchkow’s Shoe Shop, said that she never saw Perrone, but now that he is in custody, she has peace of mind. “We obviously feel much safer,” she said. “We were being extra cautious, aware of our surroundings and keeping a little extra aware of people.”

Perrone also had some prior legal troubles. According to New York State Civil Court documents, the 64-year-old Staten Island resident defaulted on mortgage loans for his Clove Road home and has been sued by the Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union in 2010, Brooklyn Union Gas in 2004 and an individual in 1999 for defaulting on varied payments. Those cases have since been disposed.

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