TIMES SQUARE — A Queens man dressed as the Statue of Liberty was arrested for “aggressive begging” after demanding $5 from a tourist who took a photo with him, police said.
The tourist, from North Carolina, was walking through Times Square at about 5:15 p.m. Saturday when 45-year-old Miklos Solyom — dressed as Lady Liberty — came up to him and asked repeatedly to “take a picture with me” while holding out his arms to prevent him from passing, according to a complaint filed with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
After the tourist, whose age was unknown, took a picture with him in front of 1535 Broadway, Solyom asked the tourist to fork over $5, police said.
The tourist said he would pay $4, but Solyom refused his offer and continued to demand a $5 payment, the DA said.
Feeling threatened, the tourist gave Solyom $5 then reported the harassment to police, the NYPD said.
Solyom was arrested and charged with aggressive begging in a public place, a misdemeanor, the DA said.
An attorney for Solyom did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Solyom pleaded guilty during his criminal court arraignment. The case was adjourned and will likely be dismissed if Solyom does not get arrested again before July 22, the DA said.
A spokesman for the Department of Correction could not say whether Solyom served any jail time for the incident.
Saturday's Statue of Liberty incident was not the first time a costumed character in Times Square has stirred up trouble.
In August, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had formed a task force to determine how best to deal with concerns many have raised about aggressive costumed characters in Times Square, as well as topless women who frequent the area’s pedestrian plazas.