A colorful character from Sesame Street has gotten a bad name with one local family, because of an incident in Times Square. Pei-Sze Cheng reports. (Published Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013)
Police arrested a man dressed as Cookie Monster in Times Square for allegedly pushing a 2-year-old boy after becoming angry the child's mother didn't give him a tip, the mother said.
The mother told police the costumed Sesame Street character became aggressive after she snapped a photo of him with her son, although she told NBC 4 New York they were approached first by the man in the costume.
"We were walking in his direction, but we did not approach him. We did not speak to him," said Parmita Kurada of Stamford, Conn. "He just came and he just picked up Samay and said, 'Come, come, come. Come take a picture with us.'"
She said the man in the Cookie Monster suit demanded $2 and started pushing her boy. When she told him her husband needed to get cash, he began to verbally assault the woman, according to Kurada, cursing at her and calling her son offensive names.
"I cannot even repeat what he was saying," said Kurada. "I've never had anyone say that to me. And worse was he was cursing at my kids."
The man in the suit then allegedly pushed the boy's stroller so hard he tumbled out onto the ground. The boy was not injured.
The man in the suit, 33-year-old Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, law enforcement sources said.
He was arraigned Monday and his lawyer denied the charges, saying there was no evidence of injury to the boy.
Quiroz-Lopez's work partner, who dresses in an Elmo costume, did not give his name but said at the arraignment that Quiroz-Lopez "didn't do this."
Kurada said her young son can no longer bear to see or play with Cookie Monster. When asked why he didn't like the big blue friendly monster as portrayed on Sesame Street, the boy told NBC 4 New York, "Because Cookie Monster gave me a boo boo."