The Santa Cruz Police Department has a Cookie Monster problem.
According to SF Gate, local officials are warning residents and visitors to avoid a man dressed as the voracious Sesame Street character. Police say they’ve received multiple complaints about the “creepy” individual who’s been taunting visitors at the city’s scenic wharf.
“We saw him at the beginning of the wharf,” Michelle Roberts told KSBW. “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.”
The SCPD said they believe the man is Adam Sandler, a 59-year-old who is known to pester residents while dressed in costume. SF Gate reports the man, who has no relation to the actor of the same name, has also been dubbed “Evil Elmo,” as he has been spotted pulling similar stunts in the Bay Area.
Authorities said the man is exercising his First Amendment rights and has not been charged with a crime; however, they’ve warned residents not to engage with him.
“It’s a parent’s prerogative and risk to allow their child to take a picture with this character,” police wrote in a statement. “Remember that SCPD advises the public not to interact with this person in the cookie monster costume due to his history of unpredictable vulgar comments and troublesome behavior.”
They continued: “It is important to note he is not employed by, contracted by, or permitted by the City of Santa Cruz or any local business on the Wharf or surrounding areas.”