Woman Arrested After Falsely Accusing Black Teen of Stealing Her Phone, Tackling Him at NYC Hotel

Chris Harris
·3 min read
Woman Arrested After Falsely Accusing Black Teen of Stealing Her Phone, Tackling Him at NYC Hotel

Woman Who Allegedly Attacked Black Teen Over Phone in NYC Hotel Snaps at Gayle King During Interview

On December 26, Miya Ponsetto falsely accused the teen, Keyon Harrold Jr., of stealing her phone at the Arlo Hotel

The woman dubbed "Soho Karen" by the internet has been arrested in California by the New York City Police Department, PEOPLE confirms.

Miya Ponsetto, 22, was detained on a fugitive warrant outside her residence in Piru, California, on Thursday.

Detectives from the NYPD flew west and worked in concert with deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office to execute the arrest, a police source tells PEOPLE.

The source confirms that Ponsetto did not cooperate with authorities, and had to be forcibly removed from her car after nearly slamming the driver's side door on one of the deputies.

At this point, it is still unclear what criminal charges Ponsetto will face in New York for allegedly grabbing the teenage son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold inside the Arlo SoHo hotel in Manhattan.

RELATED: Woman Who Allegedly Attacked Black Teen Over Phone Snaps at Gayle King During Interview

It is also unclear when she will be extradited back to New York for arraignment.

A now-viral video shot by Harrold on Dec. 26, 2020, appears to show Ponsetto confronting the musician's son in the hotel's lobby and falsely accusing the teen of stealing her phone.

Ventura County Sheriff's Department Miya Ponsetto

Harrold has said racial profiling fueled Ponsetto's alleged actions.

On Thursday, Ponsetto's attorney, Sharon Ghatan, told NBC News her client was not staying at the hotel, and instead left her personal effects unattended in the lobby as she was retrieving something from a nearby Starbucks' bathroom.

When she returned, Ponsetto realized her phone was missing and asked several people in the lobby, including an "Asian gentleman," if they'd taken her phone, Ghatan said in the NBC News interview.

The next people she asked were the Harrolds.

Ponsetto allegedly attacked 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. moments later, trying to tackle him as he walked towards the exit.

The older Harrold sustained scratches to his hand during the altercation.

The phone was eventually returned — by an Uber driver who'd driven Ponsetto to the area.

Ghatan insisted the matter had nothing to do with race.

"She suffers from a lot of anxiety attacks," Ghatan said. “She was alone … 22 years old in a city she doesn't know, absolutely nobody there and her phone had everything about it," adding her client was "emotionally and mentally unwell."

The lawyer also insists Ponsetto is "sorry" for the incident, and wants to "move forward and put this behind her."

Ponsetto was arrested for public intoxication and battery on Feb. 28, 2020, following an incident inside a Beverly Hills hotel, court records show. Two months later, she was stopped in Van Nuys for driving under the influence.

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A hearing to address the Beverly Hills charges is set for later this month, Ghatan told NBC News. In September, a judge sentenced Ponsetto to summary probation for three years after she pleaded no contest to driving under the influence.

Hours before her arrest Thursday, both Ponsetto and Ghatan sat for an interview with Gayle King. At one point, Ponsetto cut the CBS This Morning co-anchor off mid-sentence.

In the interview, Ponsetto — wearing a hat emblazoned with the word "Daddy" — admitted she could have "approached the situation differently," and apologized if she made Harrold's teen son feel "maybe some sort of inferior way."

"I never, ever meant for it to hurt him or his father, either," she explained, describing herself as "super sweet" and questioning how her actions were in any way criminal.

Ponsetto added: "I don't feel like this one mistake defines me."