Richard Cook, a street magician from Florida, is currently in serious trouble after pulling off a woman’s underwear.
The man has been charged with a felony after promising to make a woman’s scarf disappear, then going for her bikini bottoms instead.
According to WFLA, 51-year-old Richard Cook decided to perform as a street magician in Clearwater, Florida, for people gathered for the local Sunset festival. But it seems the magician didn’t have many impressive tricks prepared, or at least no tricks that didn’t involve s*xual assault.
After Richard Cook asked for a volunteer from the crowd, he was approached by a woman in a bikini. The magician then asked her to keep her hands out in front of her as part of the trick, but this was more likely to ensure that she couldn’t stop him from doing what he did next.
He didn’t make the scarf vanish.
Instead, Cook simply grabbed at the woman’s bikini bottoms and tried to yank them off her body from the side. Fortunately, she was able to stop the bikini from coming off completely and protected herself from exposure.
But the magician’s deviant “trick” didn’t end there. For obvious reasons, the woman explained to the magician that she was not comfortable being a volunteer for his trick anymore. Richard Cook responded “you will feel comfortable” and tried to snatch off her bikini bottoms once again. The bottoms fell back, exposing her buttocks. At this point the woman fled the scene and called the cops.
Unsurprisingly, the magician turned out to have a more extensive history with criminal charges than he does with magic tricks. He’s been sent to a Florida State prison on six separate occasions.
Officials of the event later claimed they had no affiliation with the magician and had not authorized him to perform for passersby. Though it’s obvious that Richard Cook had poor intentions when he decided to perform as a street magician, reports did not indicate if he successfully caught the attention of a crowd with any legitimate magic tricks first.
Dallas Saupe, who hires street performers for the Sunset festival, claims that officials do their best to ensure that no faux magicians or performers make it into the mix, but he still plans to step up security after the Richard Cook incident.
“The guy wasn’t part of us.He wasn’t vetted at all. It would be like stopping this guy right here and saying hey, let me show you a trick to these people that just walked by and something happening, you know. So they’re all vetted. The city requires us to do back ground checks on all the participants, not just the performers, all the vendors. Everybody that works out here for the festival. We can be as vigilant as we can. I will step up probably my walking around my perimeter and I already do it several times a night.”
According to the Huffington Post, the self-professed street magician is now behind bars at Pinellas County Jail. His disturbing forced-strip magic trick qualified as a felony battery, which could very easily send Richard Cook to prison for the seventh time.
Brooke Hill, an attendee of the festival, was deeply disturbed to hear that a street magician tried to expose a female pedestrian at a family-friendly event.
“I just think that’s really scary that anyone can get in here and do that. That would just make me feel very violated,” she said.