Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Ex-con who sneaked back into jail

Officials say that former inmate Matthew Matagrano used phony credentials to get into multiple jails, including Rikers Island (AP)

Most jailbirds can't wait to get out - but one former inmate stands accused of sneaking back in.

Convicted sex offender Matthew Matagrano, 36, of Yonkers, New York City, appeared in court in Manhattan on Saturday accused of impersonating a Department of Corrections investigator.

Officials say that for at least a week, Matagrano used fake credentials to get into several city lock-ups, including Rikers Island and the Manhattan Detention Centre, where he mingled with inmates for hours.

Investigators said the case is 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 admitted to arriving at the jail at around 3.30pm 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 11pm, 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.

Surveillance cameras recorded video of Matagrano during the visit, the complaint said.

It was not clear if or when Matagrano would face similar charges for entry into other city jails.

Matagrano has a criminal record that includes a conviction for sodomy and sexual abuse and he is on the state's sex offender register.

It is 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.

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