Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Colombo associate charged in Brooklyn burglary spree

A reputed Colombo crime family associate with a history of theft and burglary arrests dating back to the 1980s has been charged with committing a half-dozen break-ins in Brooklyn.

Career crook John Catullo, 55, and accomplice Samuel Kravchenko, 36, were indicted Wednesday and charged with breaking into two homes and four stores, stealing more than $82,000 in cash and merchandise, an array of Rolexes and fancy jewelry.

Catullo and Kravchenko’s spree lasted from August 2022 to January of this year, Brooklyn prosecutors allege, and was bookended by a pair of home burglaries — one on W. 12th St. in Gravesend on Aug. 8, the other on 76th St. in Bensonhurst on Jan. 18.

They also hit two grocery stores and a vape shop in Bensonhurst, plus a grocery store in Bath Beach, prosecutors allege.

Investigators caught a break in the case after Kravchenko was arrested Jan. 26 when he was stopped for failing to signal. Police found 39 oxycodone pills and two police scanners, with detectives going on to use cell phone data, video and other evidence to link them to the break-ins, prosecutors said.

Catullo is a Colombo crime family associate, law enforcement sources said.

His lawyer Lance Lazzaro denied the connection to organized crime.

“That was used to inflame the judge against my client without any basis to support that allegation,” he said. “We will fight the charges vigorously and he will be exonerated. He is innocent.”

Both men were arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday on a 74-count indictment, charged with multiple counts of burglary, conspiracy, grand larceny and other offenses. They were ordered held without bail.

“These defendants are allegedly professional burglars whose crime spree violated the sanctity of local homeowners and businesses in the Bensonhurst community, and we will now seek to hold them accountable,” Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday.

Catullo has served four stints in state prison, starting with a 1986 conviction for grand larceny auto in Brooklyn. He also served time for criminal possession of stolen property in 1994 and for burglary in 2008.

Most recently, he was hit with a three-and-a-half to seven year prison term for a 2017 burglary conviction on Staten Island. He and two accomplices broke into a home in 2015 and ripped the alarm system and motion sensors from the walls, but were caught by detectives laying in wait for them, the Staten Island Advance reported at the time.

Catullo was released in April 2021, and his parole ended in July of last year.



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