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Kelly: ‘Reasonable To Assume’ Brooklyn Shopkeeper Killing Suspect Would Have Acted Again

Mugshot of Salvatore Perrone from 2001. (credit: Handout)

Mugshot of Salvatore Perrone from 2001. (credit: Handout)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The suspect accused of killing three Brooklyn shopkeepers appeared in court overnight.

Salvatore Perrone, 63, was arrested Wednesday on murder charges, police said.

A pharmacy worker recognized him as the balding man shown in surveillance footage leaving the scene of the most recent shooting, Nov. 16, with a duffel bag, police said.

Another shopkeeper came forward and said Perrone had gone into his store and questioned him about whether he worked alone and when he closed, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly 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.

Detectives said they found a sawed-off rifle used in all three attacks in a duffel bag in a closet at the home of Perrone’s girlfriend. They also found .22-caliber ammunition, black gloves, women’s clothing, a bloody knife and a bottle of bleach, police said.

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

Authorities said they still don’t have a motive in the killings, but Kelly said Perrone could have acted again.

“We know he went to other locations and indicated he may have been planning to come back,” Kelly said.

Detectives had been questioning Perrone, dubbed “John Doe duffel bag,” for almost 24 hours after he turned himself in on Tuesday. Earlier, Perrone had been referred to only as a “person of interest.”

Kelly called Perrone “talkative” with detectives and said he made incriminating statements. But Kelly refused to reveal what Perrone said.

Police said they believe Perrone carried the murder weapon in the bag and traveled by subway.

Perrone, a Brooklyn native, is divorced and lives with his girlfriend. He went store to store trying to sell clothing, police said, but it was unclear if he had tried to sell to any of the victims.

He was arrested in Franconia Township, Pa., in 2001 and charged with stalking, harassment, burglary and public drunkenness, but those charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to a trespassing charge.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)