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Bratton: NYPD To Seek Regulation Of Costumed Characters In Times Square

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city's top cop had a sitdown with members of the Times Square and Broadway communities Thursday to discuss quality-of-life concerns with a sharp focus on costumed characters, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

"We are going to pursue an effort to regulate the activity," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at the Broadway Association's luncheon. "But at the moment, there is nothing that allows us to regulate the number of them."

Commissioner Bratton: Police Will Effort To Regulate Costumed Characters In Times Square

Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, who has long sought to crack down on the groping Elmos and Cookie Monsters, was pleased.

"He has walked around Times Square," Tompkins said. "He's seen these issues, and he agrees that this is something that does need to be addressed."

Bratton, a supporter of the costumed characters, toured Times Square a day earlier and said they have a right to pose for pictures and ask for money.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick said earlier this month he is drafting a bill that would weed out troublesome characters by making them get licenses from the city.

Last month, police arrested a 22-year-old man wearing a Spider Man costume, accused of grabbing a woman's breasts and backside after putting his arms around her.

Another man who dressed as Spider-Man was convicted in July of harassing a woman in a Times Square spat.

The 36-year-old man had been charged with punching a mother of two in the face after she refused to tip him for posing for a photo with her children in February 2013.

The attorney for the character argued that the woman started the fight by throwing a block of ice at his head after he called her names. Another Times Square character, Batman, had to intervene in the scuffle.

In January, a man dressed like Woody from "Toy Story" was charged with forcible touching.

Last year, a copy-cat Cookie Monster was arrested for allegedly shoving a 2-year-old child. In another incident, a man dressed as Elmo was arrested for allegedly launching an anti-Semitic tirade.

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