QUEENS — Police charged man with a lengthy rap sheet in a pair of violent muggings — during which the suspect hit his victims with a silver hammer before robbing them, police said.
Anthony Coward, 28, who was picked up at Mannat supermarket on Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Monday morning, was charged with two counts of robbery in the attacks, police said.
He was also suspected in a similar attack on a pregnant woman in Queens, but was not immediately charged in that case, police said.
An employee at the supermarket said that he had never seen Coward, who has has 34 prior arrests, including for robbery and criminal trespass, before.
He said that police followed the suspect after he entered the store around 10 a.m. and that Coward didn't not resist when police took him into custody.
Sources said that police were able to identify the suspect after they received a tip. One of the victims then recognized Coward in a police photo array, sources said.
In the most recent incident, a 32-year-old man was standing at a MetroCard vending machine inside the Rockaway Avenue C train station, at Fulton Street, about 9:20 a.m. last Wednesday, when Coward approached him from behind and hit him in the head with the hammer, police said.
Coward, who can be seen grinning in one of the surveillance photos released by police, ran off after the victim gave him about $140, the NYPD said.
The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and treated for a head injury, the NYPD said.
On May 4, a 23-year-old man was buying a MetroCard at the same train station around 11 a.m. when the suspect hit him in the back of the head with a hammer and stole his wallet, police said.
Coward is also a suspect in an incident that took place on March 5, in which a 26-year-old pregnant woman was attacked while walking to the subway in Briarwood, Queens, police said. The suspect hit her from behind in the head with a silver hammer and running away with her purse, containing three credit cards, an iPhone and a MetroCard, police said.
The victim suffered a bruise to the back of the head as well as her forehead and was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, the NYPD said.