Watch CBS News

Elmo Impersonator Admits To Plot To Extort Girl Scouts

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A homeless man who became infamous for shouting anti-Semitic slurs while dressed as Elmo in Times Square pleaded guilty Wednesday to a bizarre plot to extort the Girl Scouts.

Dan Sandler, 50, who also goes by the name Adam Sandler, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to attempted grand larceny and misdemeanor stalking, CBS 2 has learned.

Sandler's plea deal calls for an order of protection of unspecified terms against him, along with one year in jail on each count that will run concurrent. He is set for sentencing on Oct. 9.

Sandler was charged with trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts of America for allegedly threatening to go public with false claims that the organization arranged sexual encounters between adult men and underage girls at a scout camp, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

He was also charged with harassing and stalking a Girl Scouts employee with dozens of threatening and bizarre emails and photos, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported in June.

Prosecutors said when the supervisor told Sandler to stop contacting her, he threatened to spread false rumors about sex abuse in the organization unless it gave him a high-paying position or made him a millionaire.

"I want a telecommute job from home of life at 150K," prosecutors say he wrote in one of several rambling emails. "Or a two million dollar cash settlement. As you know, the newspapers like to cover my evil Elmo scenario."

Sandler also cautioned, "How you treat me as a person will go a long way in regards to how I treat the Girl Scouts in the press, on the Internet and on u-tube," authorities said. Attached to another email was a photo of an Elmo costume stuffed in the trunk of a car, titled "Interstate Kidnapping of Elmo."

The emails "became increasingly alarming and bizarre," said Assistant District Attorney Lauren Littman.

He was caught on the extortion charges in San Francisco while wearing his Elmo costume and was brought to New York on Tuesday, according to the DA's office.

Last year, Sandler was convicted for grabbing little girls and screaming anti-Semitic rants in Times Square while dressed as Elmo – causing a scene that blocked traffic.

Sandler – by then dubbed "Evil Elmo" – later took his act to San Francisco, where he made the news at KPIX-TV, CBS 5 in June. He was spotted in popular tourist areas such as Fisherman's Wharf.

Sandler has a history of legal problems dating back before he was known as an Elmo impersonator. He was also arrested in Cambodia in 1999 for running a live porn website called, "Welcome to the Rape Camp," KPIX reported.

A University of Rhode Island study on Internet sexual exploitation in Cambodia claimed that the site encouraged viewers to humiliate women being used as "sex slaves," who appeared "blindfolded, gagged and/or bound in ropes." The site also promoted sex tourism in Cambodia, the study said.

After being deported to the U.S., Sandler got a job doing administrative work with the Girl Scouts, according to published reports.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.