Mets streaker pleads not guilty

May 13, 2009 3:03:48 PM PDT
A streaker who disrupted a New York Mets game by jumping onto Citi Field naked except for a stuffed monkey tied around his waist pleaded not guilty to trespassing charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Craig Coakley was arraigned in state Supreme Court in Queens on a charge of interfering with a professional sporting event and criminal trespassing. He posted $1,000 bail and will return to court June 11, according to his lawyer, Peter Tommaso. Coakley faces up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000 if convicted. He was barred from the ballpark pending the outcome of the case.

The 38-year-old plumber was sitting in field-level seats around 8 p.m. Tuesday night when a security guard saw him take off his clothes, put the stuffed monkey around his waist and jump onto the field, prosecutors said. He had "Lets Go Mets" painted on his bare back.

According to prosecutors, Coakley told police after his arrest that it was a bet, and his boss said he'd pay a week's salary if he did it.

The Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 Tuesday night in 10 innings.

The City Council passed the law barring people from interfering with sporting events in 2003 after fashion designer Calvin Klein stepped out onto the court at Madison Square Garden during a New York Knicks game to speak with player Latrell Sprewell.

The first person to be charged under the law was John McCarthy, 38, of Clifton, N.J., according to the Queens district attorney's office. He pleaded guilty to running onto the baseball field during a Mets game at Shea Stadium in 2004 carrying a sign that read: "Howard Stern: Here's Johnny." He was sentenced to eight weekends in jail, fined $2,000 and ordered to serve three years of probation, during which he was barred from Shea.


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