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Murder of Brooklyn Boutique Owner Linked to Serial Shopkeeper Slayings

By  Joe Parziale and Jess Wisloski | November 17, 2012 10:35am | Updated on November 17, 2012 1:58pm

FLATBUSH — Police have linked the Friday night shooting death of Brooklyn store owner Vahidipour Rahmatollah, 78, to two other slayings that happened this summer, police said.

Rahmatollah was found at 7:17 p.m. inside She-She Boutique, at 834 Flatbush Avenue, unconscious and suffering from three gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Rescuers pronounced the victim, who was from Great Neck, Long Island, dead at the scene.

Neighbors and residents said the owner, who according to state business records had run the shop for 22 years, had been a pleasant local fixture.

"He was a very nice gentleman. He was a hardworking man — he'd open the store early in the morning and he'd still be there until 7:30, 8 o'clock in the evening," said Richard Vinson, 63. "All his life was like that."

Lafleur Adams, 40, said Rahmatollah and his store had been in the area as long as she had.

"My mother used to buy church dresses and things like that," she said. "His clothes were very reasonable and he was always very friendly to people who came in the store."

Shell casings from a .22 caliber weapon were found at the women's clothing store, and police have linked the gun to one used in two similar murders that occurrred earlier this summer, both of shopkeepers — one at a clothing store in Bay Ridge on July 6, another at a 99-cent store in Bensonhurst on August 2.

Other qualities of the crime were similar as well — including that the victim's face had been covered, and all the victims appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, sources said.

In August, police connected the July death of store owner Mohammed Gebeli, 65, with the later death of Issac Kadare, 59, when they discovered the same gun had been used in both incidents.

Police were also considering the the two killings may have been linked by someone targeting addresses, for having the numbers 7, 1 and 8 in the street number, since the shops were located at 7718 Fifth Ave. and 1877 86th St.

A sketch of the suspect in Kadare's killing was also released at the time, but no futher images have been released. The suspect was described has having erratic behavior, possibly looking for "quick cash" and stood 5-foot-9 with a medium build.

Police are offering rewards of $22,000 in each of the homicides for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).