New push to crack down on Times Square costumed characters

NEW YORK -- There is a new push to crack down on costumed characters in Times Square after another is arrested for groping. In the latest incident, a man who was dressed as Spiderman was accused of groping a woman. He is one of three people who have been arrested in the past 10 days.

On Saturday night, the President of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins said the characters have gotten out of control.

"In the last 10 days alone, we've seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square," said Tompkins, "The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place for the protection of the public as well as those law abiding costumed individuals."

Tompkins adds that he doesn't see this solution as a ban on characters, because he believes Times Square should have freedom of speech.

"There should be quirky people out here," he says, "It's really to have a set of tools in place so the NYPD and city can address people taking advantage of others in a bad way.

Other unsavory incidents include two Lady Liberties in a brawl, a Cookie Monster character shoving a toddler, an Anti-Semitic Elmo and a Woody with a groping problem.

Many are wondering if the "pay as you go" photo op is worth it.

"I'm looking for regulations - it will be better for us because you don't know who is who," said a costumed Spiderman.

Tompkins adds that it would be a good idea to have a basic licensing system that would allow the characters to stay, but basically let people to see who has a criminal record, so the public can tell who is legitimate and who is not.
Related topics:
times square
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.