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August 30, 2016

Police: Man arrested in Wildwood after internet prank goes south

Guests at a motel thought their lives were in danger when a man seemingly tried to set himself on fire inside an elevator

Wildwood police arrested one New York City man they say took an internet prank too far when he allegedly drenched himself in what was thought to be gasoline and tried to light himself on fire inside a crowded elevator.

Officials responded to multiple calls at the Isle of Palms Motel in Wildwood, New Jersey, and found Austin Gaile, a 19-year-old actor, who was allegedly recording the event and hoped to put the video online. The gasoline was actually water, police said.

Police said that when Gaile performed the prank on Sunday around 8:30 p.m., eight people were inside the elevator, including two 3-year-old children. According to authorities, the guests "felt that their lives were in danger" and many were "visibly shaken up."

An investigation by the Wildwood Police Department Detective Division allegedly revealed that Gaile also had marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. His recording devices were confiscated as evidence.

Gaile was charged with false public alarm, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, possession and disorderly persons. His bail was set at $90,000 in full cash.