A Whitestone man who was threatened with jail time after gaining the distinction of being Citi Field’s first streaker will pay fines and complete 20 days of community service instead, the Queens district attorney said.
Craig Coakley, 29, pleaded guilty to interfering with a professional sporting event last Thursday, nearly four months after jumping onto the field during a New York Mets game and running the bases with nothing more than a stuffed monkey strategically tied around his waist, the DA said.
Coakley was ordered to pay $3,000 in civil fines and complete 20 days of community service by Dec. 15, Queens DA Richard Brown said. The DA said he was also barred from ever attending another Mets game, Mets-affiliated event or any event involving Mets minor league teams.
“The defendant’s antics have resulted in a criminal record, the paying of thousands of dollars in fines and civil penalties, and — perhaps the worse punishment for any true Mets fan — precludes him from ever again visiting Citi Field or any of the New York Mets’ other venues — such as KeySpan Park in Brooklyn or Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla.,” 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.”
In May after his arrest, Coakley told police, “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.”
Brown said he was sadly mistaken and threatened to push for Coakley to serve the maximum sentence of one year in prison.
Brown said Coakley was charged under 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.
Coakley remained the only person arrested for the crime at Citi Field as of press time.
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.
The incident also prompted a stiff rubuke from Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), who also pushed for Coakley to serve jail time.
“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.”
An attorney for Coakley could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@
©2009 Community News Group
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