The serial killer who murdered two shopkeepers earlier this year has senselessly gunned down a third.
Rahmatolla Vahidipour is the latest victim. He was found shot inside of his Flatbush store on Friday evening. Police have linked the .22 caliber gun used in the previous murders to the shell casings found on Friday.
“Now it’s like he’s telling us, ‘It’s me again,’ ” a police source said to the New York Daily News.
The killer took the life of Mohammed Gebeli on July 6 in his Bay Ridge store, Valentino Fashion Inc. Then on August 2, he murdered Isaac Kadare in his Bensonhurst store, Amazing 99 Cent Deals.
Police are floating around several theories as to motive of the killer. Vahidipour was a devout Jewish man originally from Iran. Gebeli was a Muslim man hailing from Egypt and Kadare was Jewish from Egypt as well.
All three were of Middle Eastern descent.
“I hope he’s not targeting owners because they’re Jewish or from the Middle East because that’s becoming personal,” said Norman Mann, a Middle Eastern owner of a Flatbush Avenue store.
Investigators think that the killer entered the store right before closing time and shot Vahidipour in the head and chest. Then, he dragged the store owner’s body to the back of the shop and threw clothing on it to cover it up.
“I hope they catch the son of a bitch,” said Gebeli’s son, Mourad, who now runs his father’s Bay Ridge store.
Vahidipour’s family is devastated. The grandfather of nine was supposed to head over to his grandson’s bar mitzvah over the weekend.
“We are miserable,” said his daughter Yasmin Vahidipour at the family’s home in Great Neck, Long Island. “He was kind. He was loyal. He was the best father. He was the best (husband) that ever lived.”
Another theory police are investigating is a theory based on the addresses of the stores and a numerology link. Kadare’s store was at 1877 86th Street, Gebeli’s store was located at 7718 Fifth Avenue and Vahidipour’s She She Boutique was at 834 Flatbush Avenue. The address for each crime scene features the number 8.
Robbery is not considered a motive as money was taken from Gebeli and Kadare, but not Vahidipour.
Police are hunting for the killer, who is about 5-feet-5 and 140 pounds. They are offering a $12,000 reward for any information that leads to a conviction of the killer.