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Police warn residents to avoid a man in a Cookie Monster costume

The "creepy" character is "causing concern," according to Santa Cruz police.
/ Source: TODAY

Police say a man wearing a Cookie Monster costume has been terrorizing residents of a California town, and they are warning parents to snap photos at their own risk.

"Recently, a man dressed up like the Cookie Monster in Santa Cruz is causing concern around the Beach and Wharf areas," read a public service announcement posted on the Facebook page of the Santa Cruz Police Department. Police identified the man as Adam Sandler, with no relation to the actor.

"(The) Santa Cruz Police Department have received calls and emails from people who say he is ‘creepy’ and his presence and comments make them uncomfortable," reads the notice. "Based on Adam Sandler’s history across the country, the Santa Cruz Police Department advises the public not to engage with this individual and steer clear of him."

Santa Cruz police reiterated in the comments section of their Facebook post that Sandler is “widely known for antagonistic antics in tourist locations. Wharf businesses have witnessed and complained that he’s yelling and irrationally acting out toward customers.”

A spokesperson from the Santa Cruz Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from and a public records request from was not immediately made available. As of Feb. 22, Sandler had not committed a crime in Santa Cruz, according to the police department's Facebook post.

Police said Sandler does not work for the city of Santa Cruz and that he is exercising his first amendment rights, however they are urging anyone who is a victim of or a witness to a crime committed by Sandler, to contact authorities.

Sandler has a troubled, cross-country reputation as a Sesame Street knockoff character.

According to the New York Times, in 2012, Sandler — wearing a red Elmo costume — was handcuffed by police in Central Park and taken to Metropolitan Hospital Center after making anti-Semitic comments outside the park's zoo. That year, Sandler told the New York Times that he was arrested and deported from Cambodia for running a pornography website.

A spokesperson from the New York Police Department tells that on Sept. 18, 2012, Sandler was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. According to the spokesperson, "Defendant was yelling and screaming in a public place causing annoyance and alarm causing a crowd to form and obstruct pedestrian traffic. The defendant refused to disperse and while attempting to place him in custody the defendant resisted."

The spokesperson added that Sandler was arrested on another occasion for grand larceny.

“Just here in the last six months, we’ve had quite a few problems with him,” Los Angeles police detective Jeana Franco told the Los Angeles Times. “This guy is like a national nuisance." reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department, and did not get a response as of this publication.

To the Los Angeles Times, Sandler denied accusations that he had threatened to beat up another Cookie Monster character, and denied accusations of being disruptive from local residents and businesses.

"I tamed my behavior down since I’ve been at the zoo, since New York,” Sandler told the Los Angeles Times. “This is a good place for me to be, because I’m only impacting one business. If I go to Santa Monica or something, it impacts 50 businesses. So it’s better that I’m here. And it’s calmer, no one is harassing me.”

Santa Cruz police addressed community concerns of whether it's safe for children to take photos with the costumed character.

“It’s a parent’s prerogative and risk to allow their child to take a picture with this character," read the police’s Facebook post. "Remember that SCPD advises the public not to interact with this person in the cookie monster costume due to his history of unpredictable vulgar comments and troublesome behavior.”

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