Times Square Anti-Semitic Elmo Charged With Extortion
by Zach Pontz
A man whose previous claim to fame was dressing up as Elmo and unleashing a tirade of anti-Semitic abuse on passersby in New York City’s Times Square may get his comeuppance after all, now that prosecutors are charging him with extortion, The New York Daily News reports.
Dan Sandler, 49, appeared in a Manhattan court Wednesday to answer to allegations of attempted grand larceny, aggravated harassment and stalking charges.
Sandler, who plead not guilty, apparently contacted the Girl Scouts and threatened to go public with false claims, including that the organization arranged sex between men and young girls at scout camp, if he was not compensated, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, Sandler did some work through a temp agency for the Girl Scouts but that ended in 2008.
Sandler was arrested Tuesday in San Francisco. He reportedly told the official escorting him back to New York that he wants to continue with his Elmo gig because it earned him a lot of money.
“I want to do that the rest of my life. I should have gone to law school instead of doing the e-learning,” Sandler allegedly said.
He also claimed he “did the same thing to Pfizer as the Girl Scouts but they never made a complaint about it but they just gave me a lot of money.”
Sandler was arrested last year for disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service after his public rants caught the attention of the national media.
“The Jews are responsible for everything that’s wrong with the world! I hate the Jews!” he yelled to passersby at the time.
An attorney, Lawrence Gerzog, tried to secure Sandler’s release at the arraignment hearing Wednesday, but his efforts failed.
“This case is a case involving, obviously, mental health issues,” he said.
He also suggested the anti-Semitic remarks were not reflective of Sandler’s actual beliefs.
“He’s Jewish himself,” he said.