Spectators and court workers alike fleed from an arraignments court Tuesday after a witness spotted bed bugs crawling on the defendant’s neck. The bed bug scare resulted in the assigned court officer evacuating the room so that exterminators could spray it.
“Members of the audience thought they
saw bugs jumping from the defendant”
The incident occurred when a woman stood up in her bench, shouting that a man sitting near her was covered in bed bugs. This incited panic in nearby spectators, as people clambered over their seats to flee the room. When responding to the commotion, the court officer ordered the three benches near the defendant in question to be emptied. Pest control operators responded within the hour to spray the room, which had been fully evacuated by then.
“Members of the audience thought they saw bugs jumping from the defendant,” State court spokesman David Bookstaver commented. “A thorough search was done of the area where the defendant had been and no bedbugs were, in fact, discovered.”
“People started bolting. Even the court officers were freaked out. It was disgusting,” says the witness who announced the bugs. “People were scratching themselves. I’m still scratching myself. Just telling the story, I get itchy.”
Since no evidence of the alleged bugs were ever discovered, it’s difficult to say what species was actually involved. It is unlikely that the things crawling on the man were bed bugs, as they don’t tend to crawl around exposed skin during the day. Bed bugs are also unable to jump or fly, which makes it sound more like the witnesses were describing fleas.