New Jersey

Gasoline Prank in Elevator Leads to Drug Arrest: Police

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Police say a prank gone too far led to a drug arrest in Wildwood, New Jersey over the weekend.

On Sunday around 8:30 p.m., police were called to the Isle of Palms Motel at Pine and Atlantic avenues in Wildwood for a report of a person trying to set himself on fire. Police say they received several 911 calls reporting a man inside an elevator had poured gasoline on his body and was trying to ignite the liquid with a lighter.

Police determined the man, identified as 19-year-old Austin Gaile of New York, NY, was performing a prank that he was recording with the intention of sharing it on social media. The liquid he had poured on his body was actually water rather than gasoline, police said. Police also say they found Gaile was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and he was taken into custody.

Investigators say eight people, including two 3-year-old children, were inside the elevator car with Gaile as he performed the prank. All of the people inside believed the prank was real and several of them were visibly shaken when first responders arrived, police said.

Gaile is charged with false public alarm, endangering the welfare of a child, possession of a controlled dangerous substance/marijuana under 50 grams and possession of controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia. Gaile was unable to post $90,000 full cash bail and was lodged in the Cape May County Correctional Center.

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