- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

The New York City Police Department arrested two Iron Men, a Spider-Man and an Elmo in Times Square Saturday just hours after police handed out fliers warning tourists about the rogue characters.

The four characters were accused of blocking pedestrians and charged with disorderly conduct. The Spider-Man, 32-year-old William Suarez, was accused of grabbing a passerby to pose for a picture and was also charged with aggressive panhandling, the New York Post reported.

The arrests come after the NYPD began handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square that inform them they’re not obligated to pay costumed characters.

“Photos with costumed characters are free. Tipping is optional,” the fliers read.

Two police officers continued spreading the message in Times Square Sunday, The Post reported.

The fliers come weeks after the New York City Council said it was considering legislation that would require licenses and background checks for costumed characters in Times Square, which have been involved in a series of violent incidents in the last few years.

Lucia Gomez, head of the immigrant-rights group La Fuente, says she hopes to organize the characters, many of whom are Hispanic immigrants, to help shape any potential legislation, The Post reported.

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