(PCM) While it may sound like some kind of comic book gone wrong, the NYPD are completely following through with their mission to get rid of all of the costumed super-hero panhandlers found throughout Times Square.
Two men dressed up as Iron Man, a Spider-man and an Elmo were all nabbed for blocking pedestrians trying to get around the tourist hot-spot and Spider-man was accused of physically grabbing a pedestrian to pose for a picture.
Police in the area began diligently handing out fliers earlier that day to Times Square visitors which said “Photos with costumed characters are free. Tipping is optional”. The flier also urged visitors to talk to a police officer or call 911 if they had any complaints.
For years now, these men and women wearing super-hero or cartoon character themed costumes have been roaming the Times Square area attempting to get as many people, especially children to take photos with them. Once the photo has been taken, they then demand money for allowing people to snap the picture. It is all a huge pan-handling scam.
The four “characters” were charged with disorderly conduct and the Spider-man was also charged with aggressive panhandling because he laid his hands on the intended victim. Officers were still spread about Times Square even after the arrests were made going up to visitors after they had taken a photo and telling them that they don’t have to pay.
Majority of the costumed characters/panhandlers are Hispanic immigrants and the head of the immigrants rights La Fuente visited Times Square as well over the weekend. She snapped photos and videos of the police passing out the filers and telling people they didn’t have to pay.
There are several meetings planned to try to organize the costumed characters and assist them with any upcoming court proceedings.