NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - A sign in a newly opened plaza at 45th Street and Broadway in Times Square warns tourists and everybody else that they don't have to tip cartoon characters or anyone who offers to take their picture. But the message is getting lost.
Jose Escalona Martinez, 42, had his bat wings clipped by cops after allegedly robbing an Irish tourist of $50 from his bat corner at 45th Street and Broadway on Wednesday night. It wasn't his first time in cuffs. He was arrested for assault in 2014.
On Thursday, Fox 5 News found a crew of aggressive cartoon characters swarming through Times Square, touching and trying to grab tourists in the newly renovated plaza.
Few take time to read the sign in the middle of the plaza. There are police patrols, but when their roaming officers can't monitor their every move.
The NYPD says touching or grabbing could be considered harassment, and Mayor de Blasio says they're working on a solution.
We told the mayor about what we witnessed, and how they were intimidating people into stopping. He says if they're breaking the law, they won't get away with it for long.
Some of the cartoon characters say they're just working to pay their bills or pay for school and that a few bad apples should not spoil the whole bunch.