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NYC hotel security officer accused of setting multiple fires where he worked, reports says

(CBS) NEW YORK - Mariano Barbosa Jr., a New York City hotel employee, was arrested for allegedly setting eight fires over the past four years at two hotels where he worked as a security officer, CBS New York reports.

Authorities believe the 30-year-old set the fires to bring negative attention to the hotels and their popular nighttime crowds with the hopes that his own job would grow less demanding, reports the station.

Barbosa, of Union City, N.J., is accused of setting eight fires at the Yotel Hotel and the SoHo Grand Hotel between February 2009 and September 2013, the FDNY said.

Barbosa was working as director of security at the Yotel Hotel when he was arrested, officials said. He had worked previously as a security officer at the SoHo Grand.

He allegedly set the fires in hallways, stairwells and exit doors in order to prevent occupants from escaping and to keep firefighters out. The fires were all brought under control quickly by firefighters, officials said.

"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," Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano said in a news release. "I commend the marshals for their extensive investigative work that led to this arrest."

Management at the Yotel Hotel released a statement to CBS New York saying they are deeply concerned about the allegations against Barbosa.

"...We are working with the NY Fire Department and NYPD to provide whatever information they may need. The safety and security of our guests and crew continues to be a top priority for us," the statement read.

No injuries were reported in any of the fires.

  • Stephanie Slifer

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