NEW YORK: Most people who’ve done time in jail can’t wait to get away. But this week, New York City authorities accused one former inmate of sneaking back in. Yonkers resident Matthew Matagrano, 36, was arraigned in Manhattan on Saturday on charges that he impersonated a Department of Correction investigator.
Officials say that for at least a week, Matagrano used phony credentials to get into multiple city lockups, including Rikers Island and the Manhattan Detention Center, where he mingled with inmates for hours. Investigators said the case was still unfolding, but some of the allegations were detailed in a criminal complaint describing Matagrano’s entry into the Manhattan jail on Thursday.
It said that when questioned, Matagrano had admitted to arriving at the jail at around 3:30 p.m. and gaining entry by showing a gold shield and saying he was an investigator from the department’s intelligence unit. According to the complaint, he stayed until 11 p.m., giving cigarettes to inmates and smoking with them in a common area. He is also charged with stealing a radio from an office while inside.
It’s not clear why he wanted to get into jails, but he had previously been caught posing as a Board of Education worker to enter two schools and rifle through student files. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in connection with that case.