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Subway 'cricket lady' arrested after elaborate insect prank

31 August 2016, 11:22

New York – A Brooklyn woman who tossed hundreds of live crickets and worms on a crowded subway train last week as part of a video prank was arrested on Tuesday.

Zaida Pugh, 21, of Brooklyn, was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration and falsely reporting an incident, police said. It was not immediately clear if the self-proclaimed performance artist had a lawyer.

Cellphone video of the incident was posted on social media and prompted several news reports before Pugh revealed it to be a prank.

"I'm really sorry about everything," Pugh told the New York Post after her arrest. "I deserve it because I was wrong."

Psychiatric evaluation

Last Wednesday's stunt caused panic as riders scrambled to avoid the critters. One passenger pulled the emergency brake, stranding the train on the Manhattan Bridge for 30 minutes.

Pugh, who was dressed up as a homeless person, had the stunt recorded. Once the train came into the station she was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and released. After she revealed the incident was a prank, police put out a warrant for her arrest.

"We thought she was an emotionally disturbed person, we took her to the hospital," said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. "She went out and made further statements to the press that she'd done this on purpose."

"She put people at risk," Boyce said.

Pugh, who has a history of posting video pranks, said she wanted the video to go viral in order to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.

"It was to show how homeless people are treated," Pugh said.

- AP

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