Police: Times Square hugger punches tourist who won’t tip

Jermaine Himmelstein.

NEW YORK (AP) – A man offering “free hugs” in New York’s Times Square is accused of punching a Canadian tourist in the face after she refused to tip him for his hug and a photo.

Jermaine Himmelstein was arrested on robbery and fraudulent accosting charges shortly after the Thursday afternoon incident.

Police say Himmelstein demanded a cash tip from the 22-year-old woman, who was visiting from Ottawa, after she took a photo with him. When the woman refused to pay, police say Himmelstein punched her in the face and then ran off. The victim was left with a black eye, cuts and bruises.

As Himmelstein was led out of a police station later Thursday, he told reporters that he “was aggressively asking for tips.”

According to CNN, his parents told a local news station that he is autistic.

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