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Whitestone Mets fan streaks at Citi Field, faces jail

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A Whitestone man who ran the bases at Citi Field clad in only a strategically placed stuffed monkey and a pair of running shoes last week may have bitten off more than he bargained for, according to the Queens district attorney.

Craig Coakley, 38, of 156−05 Cross Island Pkwy., was arraigned on charges of third−degree criminal trespass and interference with a professional sporting event May 13 in Queens Criminal Court.

Although Coakley allegedly told police after his arrest “it was a bet, my boss said he would pay me a week’s worth of salary if I did it and my lawyer told me it’s only a misdemeanor,” Queens DA Richard Brown said he was sadly mistaken.

“The New York Mets do not need fans who break the law. As the defendant sadly learned yesterday, one ‘streak’ equals three strikes and you’re out — out of the ballpark and on your way to the courthouse to face arraignment on criminal charges,” Brown said. “The Queens district attorney’s office and the New York Mets have zero tolerance for those who interfere with the play of America’s pastime.”

Brown said Coakley was arraigned on a relatively new law passed by the City Council in 2003 after fashion designer Calvin Klein stepped out onto the basketball court at Madison Square Garden in March 2003 to speak with player Latrell Sprewell while a Knicks game was in progress.

If convicted, the stiffer law states that Coakley could spend up to a year in prison and be fined up to $5,000.

An order of protection was already put in place May 13, barring Coakley from Citi Field in the future.

Brown said the incident occurred at around 8 p.m. May 12 as the Mets were taking on the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a three−game series. A security guard noticed Coakley removing his clothes and placing a stuffed monkey around his waist before jumping onto the field as the game was in progress.

City Councilman Peter Vallone (D−Astoria) said he hopes Coakley receives a full sentence for his exhibition.

“The punishment has to be enough to outweigh the publicity,” Vallone said. “In these trying times, our police and security need to concentrate on real threats and not be forced to waste time on knuckleheads looking for their 15 minutes of fame.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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