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Suspect photos released in Chelsea murder

March 5, 2012 7:25:31 PM PST
Police in Chelsea questioning a person of interest and later released him in the murder of a man found bound and gagged.

The victim has been identified by police as John Laubach, 57.

Police are looking into whether he may have known his killer.

Monday evening, police released surveillance photos of the suspect wanted for his murder.

He was caught trying to use the victim's debit card at a bank on 14th Street on Friday, the night Laubach was found dead.

Laubach was well known in his Chelsea neighborhood because he used to carry a white cockatoo on his shoulder.

A Crime Stoppers van has been driving through Chelsea, spreading word of the homicide on West 22nd Street.

It was surprising news to many residents; the violence and the victim.

Laubach was known for his friendliness and his unique pet bird.

"He would sit outside and the [bird] would be sitting on his shoulder and he would get a lot of attention. People would stop and talk to him and you know, he was very friendly," Chelsea resident Christine Slocum said.

Police were called to the man's building around 8 p.m. Friday after a female friend discovered Laucach dead inside his apartment.

Police say he was bound and gagged.

"I don't know what to say to that. That's terrible," neighbor Tom Orlando said.

"He was a friendly guy. He always [said] hello. Sometimes [he'd] open the door for me, I'd open the door for him," neighbor Georgie Lopez said.

Police say Laubach's hands were bound with duct tape.

His mouth was covered with tape too.

He'd been tied to the bed, the apartment was ransacked.

"Considering I live down the street, it's a little frightening to be that close to home. But, hopefully they figure it out and catch whoever did it," Slocum said.

Police were at the building for 11 hours on Saturday collecting evidence.

So far there are no arrests, and it is unclear if police are searching for a second person.

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