Cookie Monster arrested for child endangerment in Times Square

April 9, 2013 12:43:28 PM PDT
A man in a Cookie Monster costume in Times Square was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child after an alleged dispute.

The costumed characters strolling through Times Square pose for pictures for a few bucks.

But when one man dressed up as Cookie Monster didn't get paid fast enough, he went into a rampage, landing Cookie Monster behind bars.

"Do you like Cookie Monster?" Eyewitness News asked.

"No. Not anymore. I like Elmo," said Samay Kurada, 2 and a half years old.

He's given up on Cookie Monster after the fuzzy foul-mouthed character cursed and screamed at his mother and pushed her stroller on Sunday in Times Square.

"Even without my permission, he just comes and picks up Samay," said Parmita Kurada, Samay's mother.

Parmita Kurada was with her two young sons when she says her husband left them to go to the ATM so he could tip the characters who they'd just taken a picture with, but apparently he didn't get back fast enough for the impatient Cookie Monster who started shouting, and not the ABC's.

"He cursed at the kids, both of them, and I was shocked. Even when he's screaming and yelling at me, 'Why are you doing this.? You just have to wait a few minutes,'" Parmita Kurada said.

The man underneath the costume, 33-year-old Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment, and aggressive begging in a public place.

"Why be rude to someone for a dollar or two? It's just shocking. I don't know if that guy was drunk. Why would someone behave like that?" Parmita Kurada said.

This isn't the first time costumed characters like these, who are unlicensed and unregulated, have gone rogue in public.

Some have been arrested for being overly aggressive, souring kids to the allure of the characters.

Just ask 2-year-old Samay.

"What happened with the Cookie Monster?" Eyewitness News asked.

"He gave me boo boo," Samay Kurada said.

Eyewitness News spoke with some performers, but they weren't familiar with the man who was arrested.

After receiving other complaints of unpleasant encounters with characters, the Times Square Alliance began monitoring them.

Last Saturday we counted 52 of those characters out there," said Tim Tompkins, President of Times Square Alliance.

As the weather warms, tourists swarm to Times Square for that unforgettable photo opp.

"We've had people getting punched. We've had kids being held onto until the guy gets a tip. We've had anti-semitic and homophobic rants. So it's a real problem that really needs to be addressed," adds