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Hotel security officer charged with setting eight fires in NYC

Sept. 21, 2013 at 8:04 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man was arrested Saturday and charged with setting eight fires at two New York City hotels where he worked in security, police said.

Mariano Barbosa Jr., 30, of Union City was arrested by New York City fire marshals, the news station NY1 reported Saturday. He allegedly set three fires at the Soho Grand Hotel when he worked there in 2009 and 2010 and another five at the Yotel Hotel, where he was director of security, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, including one Sept. 8.

Investigators allege Barbosa, who was on duty when all the fires were reported, set them to encourage guests to go elsewhere, cutting the amount of effort he would have to put into his job.

The Fire Department of New York said the fires were set overnight at points where they could have prevented guests and employees from getting out, including stairwells and entrances, WNBC-TV, New York, reported. But all were quickly extinguished.

"It's disturbing that an individual charged with the safety of hotel occupants would callously endanger their lives -- and the lives of firefighters -- for personal gain," The New York Times reported Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said in a statement.

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