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Police have shifted their focus from the man in the sunglasses, a sketch released earlier, to the man carrying the duffel bag in a surveillance video taken at the scene of the crime.

According to an ABC article, they may have taken someone who fits the description into custody early Tuesday afternoon.

It isn’t clear yet what, if anything, the man in this surveillance video has to do with the shopkeeper serial killer. Sources for the Post state that the same man was captured on tape in Bensonhurst, close to the site where Isaac Kadare was murdered.

Though Kelly is quick to shoot down the claim.

“That’s not the case,” he said.

Instead, Kelly pointed out that the covering of the victims’ faces with an aluminum tray, cardboard or clothing may be a significant detail.

Also, police have ruled out the man with the sunglasses, stating that he had nothing to do with the slayings, according to a New York Post article.

“That was a sketch that surfaced with one of the previous murders, it is no longer relevant,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. “That individual washed out again. That individual was somebody we wanted to talk to, who may have been in the area. He’s not a subject, he’s a person we simply wanted to speak to.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Source: The U.S. Army

On the heels of Veteran’s Day, Assemblyman William Colton is stepping up for vets in our city.

From the office of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assemblyman Colton is announcing the creation of the Veterans’ Employment Portal on the NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs website. The portal is meant to serve as a resource to veterans in obtaining and maintaining employment in both the public and private sector. The website provides links to both state and national veteran job banks with searchable databases listing thousand of jobs and employers looking to hire veterans. This program was created in response to legislation Assemblyman Colton co-sponsored and passed this year.

“Veterans have sacrificed so much in the defense of our nation and our values. We deploy them to some of the most dangerous parts of the world and it is our duty to help employ them and their skills once they come home. They deserve the dignity and respect that comes from employment,” said Assemblyman Colton.

If you are a veteran or know a veteran seeking employment, please visit:

Toys”R”Us has set up a temporary tent to vend some of their merchandise during the holidays.

On Saturday, November 17, the Toys”R”Us location at Caesar’s Bay opened its doors for the first time since Hurricane Sandy struck. After more than three weeks of cleanup following the storm, the retailer is back and ready for business.

The only thing that’s changed is the store’s location.

Instead of its usual waterfront building, Toys”R”Us has been separated into two parts. The electronics, bicycles, movies, sports equipment and video games are now located a little further away in the shopping center, at the former location of Spirit Halloween store, at 8975 Bay Parkway. Other items will temporarily be located in a tent directly outside the Toys”R”Us store.

And while they couldn’t say much else, managers reassured Bensonhurst locals that Toys”R”Us will be open to meet demand this holiday season.

Find out what other store managers of Caesar’s Bay businesses are saying, and why leaders say you should support them through the holidays.

District Attorney Charles Hynes announced the winners for his 2nd annual Anti-Bullying Video Contest and it was a tie between the current fifth grade class and last year’s fifth graders from P.S. 186.

The kids at P.S. 186 the Dr. Irving A Gladstone  (7601 19th Avenue) submitted videos that spoke some truths about bullying in schools.

One showcased an articulate superhero named Super Nice Guy explaining bullying to two girls who badly need the lesson and the other features a mini-Mariah Carey, mini-Michael Jackson and mini-Beethoven. No seriously, watch this kid dance at the 1:14 mark.

The winners get to  serve as “DA for the Day” and will spend the entire day with Hynes. The winner is allowed to attend meetings and sit in on important conferences with Hynes. Not the most kid-friendly prize, but could be a good educational opportunity.

Congrats to the precocious actors, musicians, singers, dancers and social activists in the video.

Senator Martin Golden and Councilman David Greenfield increased the reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the man wanted for the three shopkeeper murders. It’s now $40,000.

The more recent of the three shootings occurred last Friday. Rahmatolla Vahidipour, a Jewish 78-year-old grandfather of nine was murdered inside of his Flatbush Avenue store, She She Boutique.

“Our police department and community will not rest until this killer is brought to justice. We won’t allow an individual to terrorize our neighborhoods and leave business owners fearing for their lives. Someone out there has information about these cold-blooded crimes, and hopefully this reward money will motivate them to do the right thing. Anybody who noticed unusual or suspicious activity in the vicinity of any of these three shootings is urged to immediately contact the police,” said Greenfield in a press release.

Local politicians including Greenfield, Councilman Vincent Gentile and Councilman Mathieu Eugene held a meeting with the NYPD to discuss progress and strategy to capture the killer.

“I remain deeply troubled by these senseless acts of violence,” wrote Gentile in a statement. “We as residents must always remain vigilant but as the representative for Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, I refuse to let my neighborhoods live in fear.”

Surveillance footage from a store near the scene has narrowed the police investigation to a person of interest they’re calling “Jon Doe Duffel Bag.”

As a means of precaution, store clerks are asked to avoid being alone in the shop after dark if possible. Instead, use a buddy system. Also, a video surveillance system might be a good idea since the killer has only targeted stores without surveillance.

Anyone with information is urged to immediately contact the NYPD at (800) 577-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous.

From the offices of Councilman David Greenfield and Congressman Jerrold Nadler:

Councilman David G. Greenfield, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty are teaming up to host an event for residents who need help applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Any homeowner or tenant who needs help filing for FEMA funding is welcome to schedule a time to stop by Councilman Greenfield’s Borough Park district office this Wednesday, November 21st for a fifteen-minute appointment with a Met Council expert. During this meeting, the representative will assist with all of the associated paperwork and answer questions. They will also be able to explain other types of government assistance available to help New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Sandy. For more information, call Councilman Greenfield’s office at (718) 853-2704.

“I know that many New Yorkers are still assessing the damage that Hurricane Sandy caused to their homes and belongings. This is a difficult and long process, so we are committed to doing everything we can to help ease the stress and burden for residents. It is critical that everyone impacted by the storm utilize the federal, state and city programs being offered, and my office is here to assist with that process. I thank Congressman Nadler and Met Council for partnering with me to help residents through this difficult time,” said Councilman Greenfield.

“It is crucial that those who were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy receive the assistance they need to move on with their lives. I will continue working in Congress to ensure that there is adequate funding – through FEMA and other avenues – for Brooklyn residents and businesses to rebuild and repair, and my office is here to help connect constituents with those resources. My staff has assembled key resources for those seeking federal assistance,” said Congressman Nadler.

After applying for FEMA assistance, city residents can then apply to the newly-created Rapid Repairs NYC program, which will help provide expedited repairs through licensed contractors that have been brought in to the city’s hardest hit areas. Using their FEMA identification number, residents can apply to Rapid Repairs NYC by calling 311 or visiting Under this program, inspections and certifications from the city Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation are being completed as quickly as possible to get residents back in their homes sooner.

In addition, a number of other programs are available through agencies including the United States Small Business Administration, the Governor’s Homeowner Repair and Rebuilding Fund, the NYC Department of Small Businesses, Legal Services of NYC, and more. Call Councilman Greenfield’s office at (718) 853-2704 for more information about Wednesday’s FEMA event which is by appointment only, or about any of the other programs currently available to city residents.

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.

Pre-Sandy seawall. Source: Retrofresh! via Flickr

From the offices of Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden announced that he has written to Colonel Paul E. Owens of the Army Corps of Engineers regarding damage to the Belt Parkway seawall and has requested an emergency fix and replacement of the entire 2.5 mile section from the Verrazano Bridge to Bay Parkway.

In his letter, Senator Golden wrote, “It is imperative that work on the damaged section being immediately to prevent further erosion as well as to protect the safety of the community and use of the Belt Parkway.”

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up in Bensonhurst, rarely anyone I knew went by their real names. From Joey Sticks to Chewy Louie, nicknames are a regular part of neighborhood lore.

Dave Mandl, writer for the “Wire, the Believer, the Rumpus, the Register, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the Village Voice and literally millions of other publications,” as well as the music editor at the Brooklyn Rail and host of a weekly radio show, “World of Echo,” at WFMU has deep Brooklyn roots. He often posts about his childhood spent roaming around the streets of Southern Brooklyn.

In his latest musing for Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, an online publication that gathers original stories from all over New York City, he has compiled an incredible collection of the nicknames he can recall the kids in his neighborhood had from 1966 – 1980. He also provides explanations as to why kids carried these weird, yet somehow familiar, monikers.

Among the jewels, he lists:

Joey All-Star because “Joey was a congenital liar who was constantly bragging about what a great athlete he was. In fact he wasn’t very good at all.”

Seedy Edie because “Edie was a middle-aged woman who dealt pot out of her apartment, a block away from the police station. Everyone in the world knew about her, so we assumed she had some kind of arrangement with the cops. The low-quality weed she sold was allegedly full of seeds.”

Take a look at his list and tell us your favorite childhood nicknames.


Source: Onderwijsgek via Wikimedia Commons

From the offices of Councilman Greenfield:

Councilman David G. Greenfield is pleased to announce that residents in Kensington, the northern part of Midwood and the eastern part of Borough Park once again have a neighborhood library branch to visit with the soft opening of the new, state-of-the-art Kensington branch of Brooklyn Public Library. Local residents have been without a nearby library branch since the old location was closed three weeks ago and the opening of the new building was delayed for two weeks due to Hurricane Sandy. Brooklyn Public Library officials are planning a formal ribbon cutting ceremony at the new branch, located at 4207 18th Avenue, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Councilman Greenfield wanted to inform the public that the branch is now open to residents. This marks the first brand new library branch in Brooklyn in years. This new library replaces the leased temporary facility at 410 Ditmas Avenue.

“I know how important public libraries are for many residents, so I am thrilled to have worked on the completion of this great addition to our neighborhood. Libraries are an integral part of any community and serve a wide range of constituents, from book lovers to students to job seekers. This new state-of-the-art building is a great investment in our community and will be enjoyed by generations of families and residents,” said Councilman Greenfield.

The 18,500-square-foot, two-story building is handicapped accessible and features self-checkout machines, external book drops and pre-teen, teenage and adult reading areas. It also has computers for children and adults, wireless internet access and public meeting spaces. Greenfield thanked his predecessor, former Councilman Simcha Felder, for initiating the project, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for supporting the new library. Most of the funds for the $15 million project were allocated by the New York City Council.