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Seen At 11: Killer Still Unknown In 1996 Murder Of Beloved Deli Owner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Twenty years ago Friday, the beloved owner of a famed New York eatery was brutally murdered. Abe Lebewohl's killer has yet to be caught.

It's a cold case that haunts both the family and the investigators who are still on the case.

It was a cold Monday in 1996 on the Lower East Side when news broke that the owner of Second Avenue Deli had been shot.

It was a killing that stunned New York. Lebewohl was known as the mayor of Second Avenue, and loved by all. He fed both high society and the homeless at his famous deli.

"Feels like it was yesterday," Jack Lebewohl, the victim's brother, told CBS2's Maurice DuBois. "I just felt something in the pit of my stomach that it was something wrong... something serious happened."

Lebewohl was making his daily run to the bank in the store's van when he was robbed of more than $10,000 and brutally shot to death.

"I called the deli and the woman who answered the phone was crying," Sharon Lebewohl, the owner's daughter, said. "Seeing the deli closed and seeing people around there crying, it hit me that something terrible happened."

The gun that killed Lebewohl was recovered three days later at the 96th Street transverse in Central Park. It was linked to a double homicide in Elmsford several months earlier.

The NYPD also released a sketch of one suspect. Beyond that, there are few new clues. There is, however, a major incentive for anyone with information.

"The family is offering an extremely generous reward of $150,000," detective James Piccione said.

"We wanted to make a statement and tell people there's a lot of money here for you, give us the information that's needed to arrest and convict the people that committed this terrible crime,"  Jack Lebewohl said.

Detective Geneva Eleutice said no detail will be overlooked.

"The smallest thing, whether people in the neighborhood think its relevant or not, may lead to the $150,000 reward," Eleutice said.

The family and the investigators said they will never give up looking for Lebewohl's killer. They are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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