Mariano Barbosa Jr., a security director for two Manhattan hotels, was unhappy with the demands of his job. But instead of requesting reduced hours or asking for help, Barbosa took a creative (if destructive) route, opting to ease his responsibility by setting fires at work.
Barbosa, 30, sparked eight blazes at the Yotel and the SoHo Grand over the course of four years, reportedly hoping that the arson would make the hotels less desirable, and therefore less crowded.
"He desired that the incidents would be blamed on the clientele, and if that was the case maybe they would curtail the parties, and the venues would be more manageable," one fire official told the New York Times.
The wayward security boss allegedly set the fires in stairways, hallways and exits. Barbosa spent his newfound downtime in complimentary rooms, drinking and relaxing.
Although firefighters extinguished all of the fires before they caused major damage, two of them endured minor injuries in a fire set in February.
Barbosa agreed to voluntary questioning, after which law enforcement suspected that he might be the arson. The security officer was then arrested.
Said fire commissioner, Salvatore J. Cassano, “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.”
Barbosa’s wife defended her husband, claiming that he was using the free rooms to sleep in so he could be there for his shifts. She said, “This is a slap in the face. I don’t understand how all of the sudden he’s the bad guy."
Just one year prior to the arrest, Barbosa’s employers awarded him a trip to Las Vegas. It’s safe to say he won’t be getting any more free vacations.