New York subway prankster who let loose crickets, worms to be charged with crime

In one video, the woman is seen screaming uncontrollably as riders tried to console her. Actress Zaida Pugh has admitted it was a prank.YOUTUBE

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - New York City police plan to arrest an aspiring actress who let crickets and worms loose on a crowded subway train and then urinated on herself last week in what she has described as a prank, authorities said on Tuesday (Aug 30).

Zaida Pugh will be charged with reckless endangerment for what she did on the train, said Robert Boyce, the New York Police Department's chief of detectives.

Subway riders were locked in close quarters with the bugs for about 30 minutes during Wednesday evening's rush hour after a passenger pulled an emergency brake while the train was on the Manhattan Bridge.


"She put people at risk," Boyce told reporters.

Passengers, he said, "could have had heart attacks" or other issues, or been emotionally scarred by the incident.

Pugh could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a Facebook video posted earlier on Tuesday (Aug 30), she apologised for the disturbance and said she had received death threats.

Pugh vowed to delete videos of all her past stunts from the Internet.

"I don't know what's going to happen to me," she said.

She added: "I wish there was something I could do to change how you guys look at me."

Pugh told Reuters in an interview on Friday that she staged the train incident as a prank to raise awareness of how people treat the homeless.

Videos from the train show an altercation between Pugh and a group of young men, who were also actors, she said.

One of the men hit the container holding the creepy-crawlies into the air, and some of them landed on passengers.

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