BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – The Twin Cities man who tossed 1,000 $1 bills to strangers at the Mall of America on Black Friday says it was worth it.
Apple Valley-resident Serge Vorobyov, 29, threw money from the third floor rotunda railing on Friday afternoon.
The money fell down to a crowd that had gathered to listen to holiday music.
When the performers starting singing “Let It Snow,” Vorobyov started tossing the cash.
He told police he was going through a divorce and having financial problems. He only had $1,000 to his name.
But Bloomington Police issued Serge Vorobyov a ticket for disorderly conduct.
“I knew it was going to get some attention,” Vorobyov told WCCO in an exclusive interview Sunday. “That’s kind of what I wanted.”
After seeing his money-tossing stunt get national attention, he posted a video on YouTube.
“My story is … I don’t have enough money for a lot of things, and I’m going through a horrible divorce. And she even took the cat,” he said.
Vorobyov says he simply wanted to spread some holiday cheer, and get his estranged wife to take notice. But Dan Jasper, vice president of public relations for MOA, says what he actually did was put people in danger.
“Somebody could’ve gotten seriously hurt, and we hope that that’s the message people walk away with,” Jasper said. “Our rotunda is four stories tall, it’s more than 45 feet tall. God forbid somebody had fallen down over the railing, or on the ground floor. God forbid people had gone crazy … scrambling for the money.”
At any given time, the mall is full of young children in strollers and people in wheelchairs. A mad scramble for cash could have been disastrous for them.
Janet and Jerry Miller of Plymouth regularly walk the mall for exercise.
“Well, I imagine somebody could’ve gotten hurt, just pushing somebody down, knocking them over,” Miller said. “There’s a lot of charities that could’ve used that money.”
Mall management told WCCO that years ago, somebody threw a tomato during an ‘N Sync concert at the rotunda. It stopped the show, disappointing thousands of fans.
On Monday, Bloomington Police say Vorobyov was issued a ticket for disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor.
He will have to make a court appearance to plead guilty or not guilty. A fine is possible.
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