Cops: Couple sought in 99-cent store killing

Police released a sketch of a person wanted in connection with the Bensonhurst 99-cent store slaying, which has now been linked to another killing in Bay Ridge.
Courtesy NYPD

A young couple with information about the murders of Bensonhurst 99-cent store owner Isaac Kadare and Bay Ridge clothing merchant Mohammed Gebeli could blow this darkening double slaying wide open, say police who are hoping to locate and question the duo as soon as possible.

Investigators told NBC news that the couple are not considered suspects in the killings, which were linked on Friday when cops discovered that the same gun was used in both crimes. Yet cops believe that the couple know who the triggerman is.

Isaac Kadare, 59, was found sprawled out on the floor inside his Amazing 99-Cent and Up Deals store near 19th Avenue at 8:45 pm on Thursday and was declared dead at the scene, police said.

An autopsy later revealed that Kadare had died from a bullet to the skull and puncture wounds to the throat — a bullet fired from the same .22-caliber gun that killed Gebeli in his store on Fifth Avenue between 77th and 78th streets on July 6.

Kadare, a Sephardic Jew who lived on Quentin Road with his wife, three daughters, and a son, was described as a devoted family man and a hard worker who converted his furniture store into a 99-cent shop during the recession.

He never installed any surveillance equipment in his store, so it’s unknown what happened in the shop in the moments before he was killed.

Kadare’s 18-year-old son, Mark, told reporters that he believed his father was killed for $900 in rent money he had collected from a tenant in his building.

But police mused that the killer — described as a 5-foot-nine Hispanic wearing dark sunglasses — may have a psychotic obsession with numbers. Kadare’s store was at 1877 86th Street while Gebeli’s address was the reverse: 7718 Fifth Avenue, investigators noted.

Cops also suggested that race might have been a motive — both men are of Egyptian descent, investigators said.

Anyone with information about the crime should call the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577–8477 or visit the CrimeStoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com. All tips will be kept confidential.

—with Will Bredderman

Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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