New York City has had a long and tumultuous history with the mascots of Times Square, ie., random people who dress up like cartoon characters and superheroes to take pictures with dumb tourists and sometimes display inappropriate behavior. For all you know, Winnie the Pooh could have a criminal record and might actually not be wearing pants under that costume.
Case in point, according to the Gothamist, a man dressed as Cookie Monster was arrested on Sunday after allegedly groping a 16-year-girl who was part of a tour group.
An NYPD spokesperson says the unidentified teen was walking with her tour group outside Toys ‘R’ Us around 5:30 p.m. when 48-year-old Ranulfo Perez, dressed as Cookie Monster, “pulled the victim into a hug and forcibly touched her breasts.” Perez was arrested at the scene, and charged with forcible touching in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, as well as second degree harassment.
Gothamist also points out that in 2014 alone, more than 18 costumed mascots were arrested in Times Square. Additionally, this isn’t the first offense by a Cookie Monster, as a different one was arrested for allegedly shoving a toddler in 2013.
As much as I can see the charming allure of wanting to get your picture taken with complete strangers in dirty, sometimes flea-ridden costumes, just save yourself the tip money and head over to your local correctional facility for Scared Straight. It’s probably safer.