Times Square Anti-Semitic 'Elmo' Charged with Extortion
A former New York City street performer, previously known for shouting anti-Semitic tirades while dressed as Sesame Street’s Elmo character in Times Square, attempted to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts, prosecutors said.
According to The New York Daily News, Dan Sandler was taken on Wednesday into Manhattan Supreme Court on attempted grand larceny, aggravated harassment and stalking charges.
Sandler, 49, is being accused of incessantly contacting Girl Scouts staff with "alarming" and "bizarre" emails beginning in July 2012, said the Manhattan District Attorney, according to the Daily News.
“He has a questionable mental state,” said prosecutor Lauren Littman. “He has erratic behavior. He was living in a car.”
Sandler was previously arrested on Sept. 18, 2012, for blocking traffic and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service.
"The Jews are responsible for everything that's wrong with the world! I hate the Jews!" he yelled at the time to passersby.
An attorney, Lawrence Gerzog, made a failed bid for Sandler's release at the arraignment hearing Wednesday, according to the Daily News.
"This case is a case involving, obviously, mental health issues," he said.
He also suggested the anti-Semitic remarks are not an indication of his client’s true feelings.
"He's Jewish himself," he said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz set bail at $200,000 and ordered Sandler back to court on June 13.
Stolz also ordered Sandler to stay away from two Girl Scouts employees who are alleged victims in the case, according to the newspaper.