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Ariz. teen accused in Twitter prank that led to flood of 911 autodials

PHOENIX - A man accused of creating a cyberattack that nearly crashed 911 systems in the Phoenix area has been arrested.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials say 18-year-old Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai has been booked into jail on suspicion of three counts of computer tampering.

It was unclear Thursday if Desai has an attorney yet.

Several Phoenix-area agencies including Surprise police, Peoria police and the sheriff’s office received a flood of 911 autodials late Tuesday night.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials say detectives traced the calls to Twitter account with more than 12,000 followers. Authorities say the account posted a link that, when clicked on, caused the devices to call 911 over and over and not allow the user to hang up. MCSO says they traced the account to a webpage hosted out of California and connected to Desai, who told authorities the calls were an accident and it was a prank gone awry.

According to MCSO, Desai told detectives that he was tinkering with Apple’s programs so the company might pay for information about bugs and viruses and give him credit for the discovery. Desai allegedly said he “had no intention of pushing [the bug] out to the public because he knew it was illegal and people would ‘freak out.’”

MCSO also alleges that Desai said he might have accidentally released the bug through Twitter when he meant to release a “lesser annoying bug that only caused pop-ups and dialing to make people’s devices freeze up and reboot.”

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