A Bank of America executive visiting New York on business spent Wednesday night in jail after he got in a tussle with some colorful characters in Times Square.
Mark Walters, 46, of Charlotte, North Carolina, took a photo with a pair of "desnudas" -- topless women in body paint who pose with tourists for tips -- at West 44th Street and Broadway Wednesday.
But when he went to tip them, he noticed his wallet was missing, according to the New York Post.
Walters accused one of the desnudas, Lourdes Carrasquillo, 32, of swiping his wallet during the photo shoot, according to police. As she walked away from him, Walters allegedly grabbed Carrasquillo by the hair and threw her to the ground, according to The New York Times.
“He hurt me. He grabbed us in the middle of the street and we tried to get away from him and he still kept trying to assault us,” Carrasquillo told the New York Post.
Maria Ruiz, 20, the other desnuda who posed with Walters, intervened and was allegedly elbowed in the face by the executive.
A Times Square performer called the "Silver Cowboy" saw the scuffle and rushed to break it up, as did an NYPD officer posted nearby. Police found no evidence to support Walters' claim that his wallet was stolen and arrested him.
The Post reported that Walters admitted to grabbing Carrasquillo, according to prosecutors.
"I was looking for the police, but I thought she pick-pocketed me," Walters told police.
Walters was arraigned on assault charges in Manhattan Criminal Court Thursday night. His bail was set at $1,500.
Gurmeet Singh, Walters’ lawyer, said that the women kicked his client and that paint on Walters' clothing indicates that the Silver Cowboy pushed him to the ground. Neither the women nor the Silver Cowboy have been charged.
Another desnuda, 29-year-old Saira Nicole, told Gothamist that her friend, Carrasquillo, can be "a little hot-headed... but stealing a wallet is something she would never do."
Later Wednesday night, a performer and her handler were arrested after the painted woman allegedly offered drugs and sex to an undercover NYPD officer, the New York Daily News reported.
The painted women have come under criticism recently by city officials who are concerned that they'll help return Times Square to its unsavory past. A top-ranking NYPD spokesman told the Daily News that police have recently cracked down on vice crimes in the tourist destination.
"Obviously, the area’s been the focus of a lot of attention," Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis told the newspaper. "Periodically, we do have vice enforcement there. We’ve beefed that up significantly."
In August, the NYPD formed a new task force devoted to policing desnudas and other performers in Times Square.
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