Bunny gets rabbit punched
By Leon Taylor, Daily News (Philadelphia), April 13, 1998

The Easter Bunny plans to file charges against an irate mother who tried to beat the jellybeans out of her at a northwestern Pennsylvania mall last week.

Minnie Kasper, 24, suffered scratches and bruises during the hare-raising incident at Millcreek Mall in Erie, where she has played the Easter Bunny for two years.

Kasper said she was attacked after snatching a belt from a woman who was whipping her 2-year-old son inside the crowded mall.

"The bunny was taking pictures with some kids and entertaining some others when he heard a couple of smacks," said Kasper, who refers to her character as a male in the third person.

"They didn't sound right, so the bunny turned around and he saw the woman with a belt in her hand, hitting a little child."

Apparently, the irritated mother didn't realize that this bunny was no marshmallow chick. That is, until Kasper hopped into action in full view of 80 to 90 startled holiday shoppers.

"The bunny went over there and grabbed the belt out of her hand and the bunny walked away with the belt," Kasper said.

True to her character, Kasper said, "The bunny didn't say anything because the bunny can't talk."

But bunnies do bleed, Kasper soon discovered.

"She followed the bunny and said she's going to beat the bunny up unless the bunny gives her back her belt," Kasper said.

After two or three minutes of threats, the woman became hopping mad and commenced kicking some cottontail. According to Kasper, the woman hit the bunny on his head, grabbed the belt and started kicking the bunny.

"The bunny just held onto the belt and tried to waste away as much time as possible until the security guards could come and get her."

Kasper said the bunny suffered a small scratch on his eye and some slight bruises during the brief battle. The woman, whom the bunny had never seen before and couldn't see too clearly after, was collared by mall security. Millcreek police yesterday said they couldn't locate a report on the assault and couldn't identify the attacker. A mall spokesperson said the incident "is being looked into."

Kasper, who works full-time at a plastics factory, said she wears a white jumper and a large bunny head as she cavorts with the children at the mall. Her services are contracted through Santa Plus, a Missouri-based agency.

"The bunny is going to press charges," Kasper said. She said she hopes the assailant is monitored "so she doesn't beat her kid anymore."

Things could have been worse. If this had happened in the parking lot, the bunny might be road kill by now.

Kasper prefers to look on the bright side.

"It's something you would see on America's Funniest Videos," she said about the experience.

"Until the point when she started hitting me, I didn't think it was funny because she was hitting the child. But when she started beating up on the bunny, I thought it was hilarious.

"The bunny was laughing on the inside."

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