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Costumed character controversy

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
April 9, 2013 1:45:01 PM PDT
It was a cute enough moment, or so I thought. Somebody dressed up as Elmo in Times Square - offering to pose with my toddler, who oh-by-the-way was in love with Elmo.

Sure, I thought. And so we snapped the camera. Ok, actually we snapped the cell phone, and captured our cute little bunny with a rather sad-sack version of Elmo. I mean the costume was clearly not up to par with what the TV version, and that's putting it charitably.

But, hey, a little kid doesn't really know the difference, right?

And so I said thanks to this low-rent version of Elmo and started to walk away. But Elmo looked a little less than a friendly - because I didn't tip him. Really, I had no idea I was supposed to, but I quickly got the message. So, rather than make a scene in front of the fam - I pulled out a couple of bucks. Elmo seemed pleased.

But the whole thing left a sour taste.

That was last fall. Now, in spring, these supposedly cuddly costumed characters are causing some controversy, after a man dressed as Cookie Monster was busted for allegedly pushing a 2 year old boy. Apparently the guy didn't think the boy's parents were going to tip him - the dad supposedly went to the ATM to get money for a tip - and cops say he pushed the boy. Can you imagine?

Now all sorts of scrutiny for what has apparently been a dirty little secret with these characters - double entendre most intended. They're not regulated. In fact the Times Square Alliance kept track of them last Saturday and at 7 p.m. they counted more than 4 dozen of these furry characters, offering to pose for pictures - for a price.

We'd like to know what you'd think of all this. We'll have the latest, at 11.

Also at 11, a series of brush fires greeting the warmest temps since last September. Low humidity and a thermometer close to 80 will do that. Meteorologist Jeff Smith, in for Lee Goldberg, tells us how long this beautiful spring weather will last.

And we're keeping an eye on North Korea, where it's unclear whether the rising tension is real, or whether it's just so much bluster from a young dictator trying to prove his virility and authority. One reporter tonight has the Obama administration believes North Korea has most likely completed launch preparations and could conduct a test fire of intermediate range missiles at any time. We'll see.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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