Murder by numbers in shopkeeper killings?

August 7, 2012 3:26:51 PM PDT
A killer is on the loose in Brooklyn and businesses are on alert.

Police are now wondering if this is a case of murders by number.

The killer has murdered two small business owners, but the strange twist in the investigation involves a possible connection to the addresses of the victims.

A cop on nearly every corner, that's become the new normal in two Brooklyn neighborhoods still reeling from the recent murders of two local shop owners.

"Until someone is caught, it's great to see the extra officers around, just in case something may happen again," said Richie Wells, a Bay Ridge business owner.

Valentino Fashions on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge was the scene of the first killing a month ago. Owner Mohammed Gebelli was found shot to death near closing time.

Then last week, it was an all too familiar scene in a 99-cent store on 86th Street in Bensonhurst, where owner Isaac Kadare met a similar fate.

In fact, police now say the same gun was used in both murders.

Police released a sketch of the man investigators suspect also attempted to hide the bodies of both victims in the same way.

In addition, they're reportedly considering an unusual similarity: the addresses use the same three numbers: 7718 for Valentino Fashions; 1877 for the 99 Cent Store.

While Commissioner Kelly appeared to blow-off that idea Monday, although extra officers have been posted outside a restaurant at 1778 86th Street for the last few days.

Worried shop owners say they don't really care what leads police to the killer, they just appreciate the added security until he's caught.

"A lot of shop owners here, they're working late into the night and I know it makes them feel better," said Tom Asher, a Bensonhurst business owner.

'I close at 9 o'clock, only three stores are open in this block and I feel safer when I see police officers on the corners," said George Arsoff, a Bay Ridge business owner.

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