Adam Sandler, the infamous man who dresses up in an Elmo costume and hounds tourists and shopkeepers along Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and in New York City’s Times Square, is facing numerous criminal charges. He is languishing in a Bay Area jail because he can’t afford bail of $150,000. His Elmo suit is being held as evidence.
The 50-year-old Sandler, also known as Danny Sandler, has been branded as “Evil Elmo” by concerned cops and terrified tourists on both coasts, New York City Fox affiliate WNYW reports.
The charges against him include a felony rap of making a criminal threat as well as misdemeanors charges including disturbing the peace and public nuisance.
“He’s been victimizing merchants and the people, mostly the tourists that congregate in the Fisherman’s Wharf area,” said Frank Carrubba, an assistant San Francisco district attorney, according to WNYW. “The more alarming part of this case is that because he’s wearing an Elmo costume, we have a tendency to trivialize what he’s doing.”
Tourists say Sandler has yelled at them because he doesn’t like the tips he gets for posing for pictures.
Business owners along Fisherman’s Wharf — the second-most-visited tourist attraction in California — also say Sandler is a menace. Some merchants have posted signs warning that they have nothing to do with Sandler and his Elmo shtick.
Carrubba, the district attorney, said Sandler recently threatened a merchant who placed an anti-Elmo sign.
“He used an expletive and basically said in a criminal threatening way, ‘I’m going to rip your throat out,'” Carrubba said.
Sandler believes he has committed no crimes.
“I’m the victim of a smear campaign,” he said, according to the Fox affiliate “Businesses don’t like people dressing like that. Mainly, the people who sell the cheap souvenirs, so they try to demonize me.”
On Wednesday, Sandler’s attorney, Rafael Trujillo, said Sandler deserves First Amendment protection and is only guilty of “trying to earn a living.”