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Times Square’s Costumed Characters Keep Getting Arrested

Skift Take

Times Square really is everything that’s most disliked about tourism while loved by thousands of people a day at the same time.

— Jason Clampet

It was not such a magical weekend for Iron Man, Elmo or Spider-Man.

Four costumed men, ranging in age from 25 to 40, were arrested in Times Square on Saturday night. The men where charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing pedestrian traffic. One of men, a 32-year-old man dressed as Spider-Man, was also charged with aggressive solicitation.

Two of the other men were dressed as Iron Man, and a third was dressed as Elmo.

Police said it was part of “quality of life sweep in the area.”

The arrests came the same day that the NYPD reportedly distributed fliers in the area warning tourists that photos with the characters are free.

This is not the first time costumed characters in Times Square have had trouble with the law. In July, Junior Bishop, a 25-year-old Brooklyn man dressed as Spider-Man, was arrested for allegedly punching a police officer after reportedly telling a woman he only accepts $5 bills or higher. Last year, a man dressed as Cookie Monster was arrested on suspicion of shoving a two-year-old child whose mother had not tipped him. And in an infamous case, Dan Sandler, who was known as “Bad Elmo” for his alleged anti-Semitic rants while dressed in the costume, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2013 for trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last month that he is considering new licensing agreements and more rules for costumed characters in Times Square. “This has gone too far, and it’s time to take some real steps to regulate this new reality,” de Blasio said on July 28.

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