People warned to avoid 'creepy' Cookie Monster terrorising city

Californian police have warned people not ‘not to engage’ a man roaming a seaside area dressed in a Cookie Monster outfit.

The individual gained attention in Santa Cruz after allegedly harassing parents to have their children pose in photos with him and pay him for the ‘service’.

He is also said to have wandered around the beachfront boardwalk yelling obscenities and taunting passers-by.

The man began appearing last month on the same day Sesame Street creator Lloyd Morrissett died, according to a local worker named Mark interviewed by broadcaster KSBW.

Mark said: ‘He was sad about that. He kept showing up and people started complaining about him.’

Michelle Roberts, a visitor to the pier, added: ‘At first glance, it just seemed like maybe it would be fun to do a selfie with him but we were away from him and then we went to the back of the wharf by the deadlines, and that’s when we saw him coming out making a commotion and getting in people’s faces.’

Joyce Blaschke of Santa Cruz Police Department said: ‘We are getting calls from people who say he is creepy.’

To make matters more mysterious, the man behind the mask may have previously had a stint terrorising people in New York and San Francisco in the 2010s while dressed in an Elmo costume.

Local police say his name is Adam Sandler, 59, of no relation to the Hollywood film star.

He was dubbed ‘Evil Elmo’ and arrested after shouting anti-Semitic rants and yelling at tourists who didn’t tip when they took a photo with him.

He was named as Dan Sandler, also known as Adam Sandler, in proceedings which led to him being sentenced to two days’ community service for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in 2012, the New York Post reports.

LA police detective Jeana Franco said in 2016: ‘This guy is like a national nuisance.’

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