Rikers Island is an isolated complex – comprised of 10 jails for men, women, and juveniles. It’s supposed to be one of the most secure facilities in New York City, but PIX11 news has learned exclusively that one man was able to breach several levels of security at Rikers – and New York City department of correction officials say they don’t even know how long it’s been happening.
New York City Correction officials confirm what a source tells Pix11 exclusively – that 36-year old Matthew Matagrano of Yonkers was able to successfully sneak into Rikers Island Jail while impersonating a Department of Correction employee.
Our source tells us Matagrano had an official Department of Correction radio, ID-card, and shield — and came into contact with “numerous inmates.”
Pix11 has also learned Matagrano started doing things inside the jail that ultimately tipped off guards that something was off.
How was he caught?
Department of Correction Matt Nerzig spokesman says:
“Mr. Matagrano was apprehended at Bronx courthouse late this afternoon upon claiming to be a NYC Dept. Of Correction Investigator. Upon learning Thursday evening of Mr. Matagrano’s impersonation of a NYC Dept. of Correction employee, and his unauthorized access to a DOC facility, the Department of Correction within hours was able to identify the individual through surveillance cameras. The apprehension this afternoon of Mr. Matagrano occurred within 24 hours of when the dept. learned of the situation. “
This tremendous breach of security is troubling on several levels, and raises the obvious question: if Matagrano was able to sneak into Rikers and come into contact with inmates, was there anything stopping him from enabling an inmate to escape?
What we do know is that this isn’t Matagrano’s first performance.
He was convicted back in 2004 for impersonating a New York City Department of Education official in order to illegally enter two public schools and look at confidential student files.
Matagrano has been in and out of prison since the mid-nineties…and was branded a Level-3 sex offender.
The Correction Officers Benevolent Association – the union that represents the guards and employees who charged with locking down Riker’s Island…and who clearly failed to keep Matagrano out, did not return our repeated calls for comment.