NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — They call themselves street performers — costumed, anonymous and not always well behaved.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, there has been a string of crimes in character. The latest alleged incident happened Friday night when a Spider-Man was arrested for allegedly groping a New Yorker, police said.
Moussa Rabaoui, 22, of Queens, is accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts and backside after putting his arms around her. He was charged with misdemeanor forcible touching.
Now, the president of the Times Square Alliance is calling for regulations on costumed characters, saying they’ve gotten out of control.
“In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins said in a statement on Saturday. “The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place.”
Head Of Times Square Alliance Says Costumed Characters Need To Be Regulated
That was just the latest in a string of incidents.
In addition to the alleged brawl between Statues of Liberty, a January incident saw a man dressed as Woody from “Toy Story” accused of forcibly groping women in Times Square.
Earlier this week, a different Spider-Man was convicted of harassment. Phillip Williams, who dresses up as the superhero, was convicted Wednesday of harassing a woman in a Times Square spat. Williams was found guilty after a brief bench trial in Manhattan Criminal Court — although he was acquitted of a more serious charge of attempted assault.
In April of 2013, a man dressed as the Cookie Monster was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly shoving a 2 1/2-year-old boy. Back in February, a judge agreed to dismiss charges against the man if he completed a day of community service.
In 2012, a man dressed as Elmo was arrested for allegedly launching into an anti-Semetic tirade.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, even one of the first costumed — or rather uncostumed — characters, the Naked Cowboy Robert Burck admits it’s getting crowded.
“There’s 20 Elmos and 20 Mickey Mouses,” he said.
Tompkins stressed that despite all the issues, he’s not pressing for an outright ban.
In 2013, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. proposed legislation that would ban or create tight regulations for costumed characters in the city.
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