Dan Sandler, the New York City Elmo street performer arrested last year for yelling anti-Semitic insults at Times Square tourists, was sentenced to jail on Wednesday for trying to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts.
Sandler, 49, said he would accept the punishment but insisted his extortion plot against the Girl Scouts was a “protest” to the “corrupt organization,” for which he worked on a short-term computer programming project in 2007 and 2008.
"This was not a case of someone in the back room or front office trying to embezzle. This was more of a protest, like lying in an intersection," Sander said in court on Wednesday. "I am not in any way sorry to the Girl Scouts organization because I believe they are a very corrupt organization because of their relationship to the pharmaceutical industry.”
The Manhattan Criminal Court also issued permanent orders of protection for two female Girl Scouts employees whom Sandler had harassed.
In his extortion plot, Sandler demanded $2 million in cash from the Girl Scouts, claiming the organization arranged sexual encounters between men and its members, the New York Times reported. The New York Daily News added that he accused the Girl Scouts of “off-label marketing" of pharmaceuticals, or using them for reasons other than intended.
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In September 2012, Sandler was arrested in Times Square for blocking traffic and resisting arrest, after going on an anti-Semitic rant, reportedly screaming, "The Jews are responsible for everything that's wrong with the world! I hate the Jews,” the Daily News said.
The Times said he became known on the streets as “Evil Elmo” and “Bad Elmo” before moving to San Francisco. Reports said he went on similar anti-Semitic rants there before being arrested in May for the Girl Scouts extortion plot.