The ex-con who broke in to prison: Matthew Matagrano accused of entering Rikers Island

 

A former prison inmate has baffled authorities in New York City after being caught breaking back into two local jails in recent days pretending to be an inspector with a fake gold badge and papers.

Exactly what Matthew Matagrano, 36, thought he was doing might become clearer when he stands before a judge this Wednesday. He has already spent time behind bars for a sexual assault conviction and is a registered sex offender in New York.  Wanting to get back inside is not generally considered normal behaviour for ex-cons.

A resident of Yonkers, a suburb just north of the city, Matagrano is accused of having broken into Rikers Island, the city’s largest detention facility which is adjacent to La Guardia Airport and houses 14,000 inmates and has a prison officer staff of 9,000. He is also accused of breaching the fortress-like Manhattan Detention Centre near the headquarters of the New York Police Department downtown.

According to a criminal complaint, he entered the Manhattan facility under false pretenses about 3.30pm last Thursday and began milling around with inmates, sharing cigarettes with some of them in the prison’s common area until 11pm when guards finally got wise to him after spotting him on surveillance cameras. The tapes also showed Matagrano rearranging inmates between cells and stealing a walkie-talkie from an office.

Aside from his conviction in 1996 of sexual abuse and sodomy – the case, according to court records, involved the rape of a 17-year-old boy – Matagrano also landed in trouble with the law in 2004 for impersonating a worker from the city’s Department of Education and breaking into a school where he spent time rifling through the files of students before he was caught. He pleaded guilty to attempted burglary at the time. He served one year behind bars for the rape and was sentenced to two to four years in the case of the school break-in.

The question this time for the courts may be a ticklish one. If Matagrano, who was released at the weekend on bail of $50,000, is found guilty of the charges so far filed against him which include burglary, possession of forged instruments, larceny and promoting prison contraband, how should he be punished? Putting him in jail may simply achieve the point of the crime in the first place.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living