BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Brooklyn man who hit commuters with a hammer and robbed them as they bought their MetroCards was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said.
Anthony Coward, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, attacked his victims in two separate incidents at the Rockaway Avenue subway station on the A and C lines in 2014, officials said.
One man was buying a MetroCard from a vending machine on May 4, 2014, when Coward came from behind and hit him on the side of a head with a hammer, according to the DA’s office.
After the victim fell, his attacker demanded his property and continued to strike him with the weapon before taking off with his victim's wallet, MetroCard, debit card and $58 in cash.
Three days later at the same station, Coward struck another straphanger as he was buying a pass from the vending machine. He took $140 from the victim and fled, officials said.
Both men suffered bruising, pain and swelling to their heads, with the first victim also getting bruised on his arm, according to the DA’s office.
The second man suffered a concussion, officials said.
“In order for our city to be a place of law and order, people must be able to enter our subways without fear of being violently attacked,” Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said in a statement.
“Without question, he now deserves to spend many years locked up in prison due to the extremely violent nature of his attacks."
Coward, 30, received a 12-year prison sentence and five years of post-release supervision. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 25, 2016 to two counts of first-degree robbery, according to the DA’s office and court records.
“He accepted responsibility and entered a plea in exchange for what we believe is an appropriate sentence,” said Coward’s lawyer, Melissa Kanas.
Coward is due back in court on Feb. 29 for his alleged role in a similar robbery in Queens, court records show.
On March 5, 2014, Coward allegedly attacked a woman with a hammer while she was walking to the subway in Briarwood, Queens.
He also has an open case in the Bronx for a May 10, 2014 robbery in which he faces charges including second-degree attempted murder, according to court records.
Information for Coward’s attorneys in the Queens and Bronx cases was not immediately available.