NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The fun ended quickly for a family on a day out in Times Square recently, after an ugly confrontation with a man dressed as Cookie Monster.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Monday, the costumed performer was arrested Sunday afternoon on charges of endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly shoving a 2 1/2-year-old boy.
The alleged offender — Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, 33, of Queens — was arraigned Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court.
“He just kept getting closer to me, and then he started getting very loud; very abusive. He started cursing me,” said Parmita Kurada, the boy’s mother.
Kurada and her son, Samay, said they were still shaken Monday after what was supposed to be a fun encounter with the “Sesame Street” character in Times Square turned bad.
Samay was all smiles when talking about Elmo, but when asked whether everything was OK with Cookie Monster, he told CBS 2’s Alice Gainer, “No.”
“And I don’t know what happened. He just pushed the stroller, or the baby,” Parmita Kurada said, “and the next thing I know, he was out of his stroller, and he was looking at me, and literally in tears.”
The Kurada family was in Times Square to shop at Toys ‘R’ Us when they stopped to take pictures with the characters outside. That was when she said they were approached by Quiroz-Lopez in the Cookie Monster costume.
“We didn’t even go to him for a picture,” Kurada said. “He just called to him, carried him, and says, ‘Come on, take pictures.’”
Police said Quiroz-Lopez demanded $2 from the Connecticut family, after they posed for the photo.
When the picture was taken, the mother said the man inside the costume demanded money. She sent her husband to an ATM, but she said after about five minutes, the costumed character began yelling obscenities at her and the children.
Prosecutors said Quiroz-Lopez pushed the little boy, causing him to lose his balance.
But Quiroz-Lopez, through his attorney, denied the allegations in court. He claimed the boy did not fall.
Another man, identified in court as the Cookie Monster character’s partner, did not want to answer questions on camera, but earlier told reporters: “They’re lying. He didn’t do it. He’s not like that.”
But prosecutors said the Cookie Monster character called the mother and her son vulgar names and told Kurada to stop wasting his time.
Quiroz-Lopez was set to be released on $10,000 bail, and was due back in court May 1. He has no prior arrests.
As for the Kuradas, they said they want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else, and as for Cookie Monster, he’s in a time out in their household.
“He just couldn’t stop saying he hated Cookie Monster,” Kurada said of her young son.
Confrontations between ostensibly cuddly characters and visitors in Times Square have been happening with some frequency in recent months. In December, a performer dressed as a Super Mario Brother was accused of groping a woman.
The walkaround characters are not affiliated with “Sesame Street,” the Sesame Workshop, or PBS.
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