This week, a man who dresses as Cookie Monster was arrested after he allegedly groped a 16-year-old tourist on Sunday as she visited Times Square with a tour group. But the Manhattan DA’s Office has decided to drop charges against 48-year-old suspect Ranulfo Perez because cops aren't certain they arrested the right costumed character. Now the Cookie Monster's victim is furious.
An NYPD spokesperson told us the unidentified teen, who was visiting from Wisconsin, was walking with her tour group outside Toys 'R' Us around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when a man identified as Perez, dressed as Cookie Monster, allegedly "pulled the victim into a hug and forcibly touched her breasts." Perez was arrested a day later, and charged with forcible touching in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, as well as second degree harassment.
However, the costumed character was not arrested directly after the incident; it appears the victim did not immediately report it to police. A source told DNAInfo, "He had left the victim's sight and police could not be certain they had the right man." The Post confirmed that Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. dropped the charges because "the teen lost sight of her attacker in the crowd."
"I am beyond upset about it," the teen told the Post. "My level of anger right now isn’t just about being molested. The fact that the Manhattan DA is 100 percent OK with it is utterly disgusting."
The teen said she saw Perez's face when he took his mask off, adding, "I'm absolutely positive it's him."
The Manhattan DA's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After being released from custody, Perez told the Post, "I love people and I love children...It could have been anyone else, but not me." Indeed, there are multiple Cookie Monsters working Times Square, including one who allegedly shoved a 2-year-old and another who was hypnotized by naked women.