April 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM ET
Apparently some guys who dress up in monster costumes take their jobs literally. But being monstrous is a terrible idea when you're suited up in a Cookie Monster getup, trying to wrangle tips from tourists who want pictures of their little ones posed with a beloved TV character.
The latest incident between a costumed character and an unsuspecting pedestrian has ended in the arrest of the man inside a Cookie Monster costume. (And it's worth noting that these folks are acting on their own, not working for or condoned by "Sesame Street" or any of the other owners of the character names and concepts.)
The incident occurred on Sunday when, according to the New York Daily News, Bollywood actress Parmita Kurada went to Times Square -- home to many such costumed critters -- with her husband and two children. Her 2-year-old, Samay, had his photo taken with the title character from "Puss in Boots."
Then other characters wanted in on the action and, Kurada said, "The next thing I know, Cookie Monster had already picked up my son and was like, 'Come on, take a picture.'" She asked her husband Sagar to get some money from an ATM for a tip, but Kurada says she began to be harassed for immediate payment.
"(The costumed man) was right next to me saying, 'Come on, come on! Give me the money!'" she said. "I was getting scared. I thought he was going to attack me or he was going to hit me."
"Cookie Monster" -- actually 33-year-old Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez -- then reportedly pushed Samay.
According to court papers, he told Kurada, "You are a b----, your son is a b------ and your stuff is trash."
That's right, court papers -- Quiroz-Lopez is now facing charges including assault and child endangerment; he was given bail of $1,000 on Monday after appearing in a Manhattan court.
Unlicensed, unregulated performers are a growing problem around tourist spots in New York and elsewhere; one person in Elmo garb has been known to swear and curse at tourists who aren't interested in a $5 photo and another (or perhaps the same one) has been caught on tape spouting racist epithets.
"(Some) hold onto kids until they get their tip," the president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, told the Daily News. "I've seen some of them randomly hug an attractive woman who has no kids within 50 feet of her."
Meanwhile, poor Samay has lost his enthusiasm for Cookie Monster. Why? He told TODAY: "Because Cookie Monster gave me a boo-boo."
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