Man charged after going to jail -- unlawfully

Story highlights

  • Authorities say a man faked his way into the Manhattan Detention Center
  • The next day the suspect was at a courthouse, saying he was there to make an arrest
  • Instead, he was arrested and charged with criminal impersonation
  • "We are determined to get to the bottom of the matter," the corrections commissioner says
It's not unusual for people in jail to take creative and even extreme measures to try to get out. But now, the New York City Department of Corrections is investigating a case of a man who authorities say went to some considerable effort to get in.
And he succeeded, at least for a time.
Authorities say Matthew Matagrano, 36, of Yonkers, parked his car at the Manhattan Detention Center using a forged Department of Corrections parking permit and entered the building by flashing a gold shield. While inside the facility, Matagrano stole a radio worth $2,500, supplied inmates with cigarettes and shared a smoke with them, according to a criminal complaint.
That was Thursday.
The Department of Corrections says it learned that evening that Matagrano, who has a police and prison record, had gained unauthorized access to the DOC facility, and within hours department authorities were able to identify him from surveillance video.
On Friday, Matagrano was at the Bronx Courthouse, attempting to talk with three corrections officers about an inmate he claimed he was there to arrest, according to the DOC's report.
One of the officers notified his supervisor after recognizing Matagrano from a photograph, and the suspect was detained and arrested, the report says.
Authorities are investigating how the suspect apparently got past security and where the gold shield came from.
"We are determined to get to the bottom of the matter," DOC Commissioner Donna Schriro said Sunday in a statement, "and we will."
"The same high level effort by the DOC workforce that led to Matagrano's speedy apprehension and arrest is being fully directed on making sure this can never happen again," Schriro added.
Bail was set at $50,000 after Matagrano was booked on charges of burglary, criminal impersonation, grand larceny and other counts. Matagrano, who is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, previously served time in prison for sodomy and sexual abuse in 1996, according to the New York sex offender registry.
Matagrano was still in custody Sunday, according to the DOC, but it was not clear whether he was being held at the Manhattan Detention Center.