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Costumed Times Square characters say police warnings are cutting into their tips, livelihoods

  • Times Square Characters Warning-1.jpg

    This undated image provided Tuesday Aug. 12, 2014 by the Times Square Alliance shows a detail from a leaflet being handed out by police in New York's Times Square informing tourists that photos with costumed characters are free and tipping is optional. The campaign is apparently taking a bite out of the bottom line for the normally grabby cast of Elmos, Mickey Mouses, SpongeBobs and Statues of Liberty. The blitz crackdown kicked in last weekend, with officers handing out warning leaflets in five languages. (AP Photo/Times Square Alliance) (The Associated Press)

  • 2effc45db008a41f5c0f6a7067006d86.jpg

    In this Aug. 11, 2014 photo Hugo Gomez depicts Lady Liberty in New York's Times Square, where police have begun a campaign in five languages to inform tourists that photos with costumed characters are free and tipping is optional. Gomez, a 34-year-old Dominican immigrant with three children, stands on prosthetic devices under the gown for five-hour stretches, but says the work now takes a toll without much payoff. He says that before the police-enforced measure, his act drew about $150 in tips each day. In recent days, it was only about $40. (AP Photo/Verena Dobnik) (The Associated Press)

  • Times Square Characters Warning-3.jpg

    This undated image provided Tuesday Aug. 12, 2014 by the Times Square Alliance shows a detail from a leaflet being handed out by police in New York's Times Square informing tourists that photos with costumed characters are free and tipping is optional. The campaign is apparently taking a bite out of the bottom line for the normally grabby cast of Elmos, Mickey Mouses, SpongeBobs and Statues of Liberty. The blitz crackdown kicked in last weekend, with officers handing out warning leaflets in five languages. (AP Photo/Times Square Alliance) (The Associated Press)

Costumed characters who pose with tourists in Times Square for tips say they're making less money under a new police warning system.

Bright red leaflets and signs in five languages started this past weekend telling visitors they don't have to tip.

The mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants beneath Elmo, Mickey Mouse and other costumes say the blitz is taking a bite out of their already meager bottom line.

Police and the Times Square Alliance took action last weekend after attacks on some visitors, including children. One Spider-Man is accused of punching a police officer for telling a woman she didn't have to pay up.

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