Alleged Gambino crime family mobster charged with murdering old friend in Brooklyn
A Brooklyn man and a known associate of the Gambino organized crime family was indicted on murder charges in Brooklyn federal court on Thursday after allegedly shooting a former friend in the back of the head.
Anthony Pandrella, 59, was indicted and charged with the Hobbs Act robbery and murder of 78-year-old Vincent Zito, who the U.S. Attorney’s office identified as Pandrella’s long-time friend.
Pandrella was arrested on Wednesday and is set to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Pandrella is accused of shooting Zito in the back of the head at Zito’s Sheepshead Bay home on Oct. 26, 2018. He is also accused of stealing assets from Zito’s loan business and cleaning up any evidence that would link him to the murder, according to the indictment.
He allegedly returned to the scene of the murder later that day to meet with Zito’s family and to glean information about the NYPD’s investigation, according to officials.
Prosecutors say that they have evidence of Pandrella coming and going from Zito’s residence at the time of the robbery and murder captured on security cameras. They also say they recovered DNA matching Pandrella’s from the trigger of the murder weapon.
“As charged in the indictment, Pandrella executed a 78-year-old man in his own home so he could steal from him” said U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue in a statement. “With today’s arrest, he will now face justice for these brutal crimes.”
In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, members of the NYPD and Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.
According to court documents, Pandrella has been a Gambino crime family associate since as early as 2002, when law enforcement say they first saw him attending meetings with known Gambino family captains Daniel Marino and George Lombardozzi in Manhattan restaurants.
Court documents also indicate that Pandrella was in close contact with Gambino crime family members leading up to the robbery and murder. Telephone records allegedly show that Pandrella spoke with Lombardozzi one hour before the murder, and the two called each other 73 times between Nov. 12, 2018, and Feb. 19, 2019.
Pandrella faces life in prison — and even the death sentence — should he be convicted of the top charge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has requested that he be held without bail.
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