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Man Arrested in Slayings of Jewelry Store Owners


A longtime acquaintance of a Toluca Lake jewelry store owner was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing the jeweler and his wife during a robbery last month, Los Angeles police said.

Police said Fereydun Shahidzaeh, 55, was low on money and the car he lived in had been impounded May 25, the day that jewelers Garbis and Mayda Tarakjian were fatally shot in their store.

Garbis Tarakjian, 52, and his wife, Mayda, 45, were found dead beside the front door of their shop, Elegant Creations in Fine Jewelry, at 4219 Lankershim Blvd.

Using a police sketch drawn from witness reports and a surveillance video from a nearby car dealership, Garbis Tarakjian's sons identified a man seen on the video leaving the jewelry store and carrying a white bag as an acquaintance of their father called Fred.

Police said Fred is Shahidzaeh, who they said worked on and off in hotel maintenance. Shahidzaeh and Garbis Tarakjian had lent each other money over the years, Los Angeles Police Det. Mike Coffey said.

"When one of them needed money, the other one would help out," Coffey said. But outstanding debts did not appear to be a motive in the killings, he added.

Shahidzaeh lived in his 1977 Pontiac Firebird, and patrol officers remembered talking to him in the past, Coffey said.

On Thursday afternoon, two officers saw Shahidzaeh parked at Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn in North Hollywood and arrested him, police said. In his car they found jewelry and a 9-millimeter handgun believed to be the weapon used in the killings.

The store had been burglarized in February, and in the weeks before the slayings its telephone wires had been repeatedly cut, but the burglary and vandalism have not been connected to Shahidzaeh, Coffey said.

Authorities said Shahidzaeh is expected to be charged and arraigned Monday.

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