Alleged Gambino crime family associate charged in murder of Brooklyn man

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SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn — An alleged longtime associate of the Gambino organized crime family was charged in the death of a 78-year-old Brooklyn man, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Office said in a statement Thursday.

Police outside of Vincent Zito’s home on Oct. 26.

Anthony Pandrella, 59, was charged Wednesday night for the murder of his “friend of many years,” Vincent Zito, officials said.

Pandrella was visiting Zito at his home in Sheepshead Bay on Oct. 26, 2018, when he shot him the back of the head, killing him instantly. Pandrella then robbed assets from Zito’s loan business, officials said.

The same day, Pandrella went back to Zito’s home, mourned with his family and friends, and allegedly tried to learn the status of the investigation.

Pandrella was ultimately arrested after security camera footage revealed him coming and leaving Zito’s home at the time of the murder. His DNA was also recovered from the murder weapon.

“It takes a certain type of evil to murder a friend in their own home, and then console the grieving relatives,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement. “The FBI Joint Organized Crime Task Force hasn’t stopped pursuing members and associates of these crime families and bringing them to justice for their disregard of the law and human life.”

The New York Daily News reported Zito was a “loan shark” with ties to “organized crime” and said his older brother has ties to the Lucchese crime family.

If convicted, Pandrella faces up to life in prison and is eligible for the death penalty.

On the same day Pandrella was charged, the reputed boss of the Gambino family, Franceso “Frank” Cali, was shot dead in front of his Staten Island home. There was no indication from police that Pandrella’s arrest had anything to do with Cali’s murder.

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