A drunken investment banker who repeatedly punched an MTA employee in an unprovoked assault at a Brooklyn subway station Friday morning has been arrested, officials said.
Cops said Jean-Francois Coste, 53, was at the Stillwell Avenue station in Coney Island around 12:15 a.m. when he punched the 56-year-old telephone operator as she began her shift.
Tanya McCrae, 56, was leaving the “crew room” in the public mezzanine when she saw Kost — a senior equity analyst at Tocqueville Asset Management — trying to enter, a spokesperson for TWU Local 100 said.
“It’s not a public area,” said the union’s spokesperson. “Apparently he was drunk. She pushed the door open for him to tap on and off and punched her in the face at least twice.”
McCrae, a 21-year veteran of the MTA and train operator, resisted and began hitting Coast with the lunch bag that had a thermos inside, the spokesperson said. After another transit worker offers to help her, the banker runs away across the train platform.
“All the workers from the crew room got out and ran after him,” the spokesman said. “He jumped on a train and got trapped by transport workers.”
Kost was arrested and charged with assaulting a transit employee, harassment and threats. He was released without bail, and his next court date is set for March.
McRae said the attack took her by surprise.
“I didn’t see him punch me,” she said. “I didn’t see the punch, it happened so quickly.”
McCrae, who sustained bruises and was taken to a local hospital, said she hoped her attacker would be punished.
“I just hope justice is done,” McCrae said. “I hope he sees time in prison. It’s not fair that people think they can just assault us and that’s okay. That’s okay. We’re just here to do our job.”
The spokesperson said that the Transit Workers Union plans to show force in the Kosti court hearing.
Richard Davis, president of TWU Local 100, said the public “should treat transit workers like heroes, not punching bags.
“Time and time again, we’ve stepped up for this city, and lately we’ve worked through a pandemic, and that’s the thank you we get. It has to stop. We’ll see this guy in court.”
Craig Cipriano, chief operating officer of NYC Transit, said the MTA has “zero tolerance” for assaults on its workers.
“The train operators work at all hours of the day and night to keep this city moving,” he said. “We have zero tolerance when they are attacked senselessly, and we are grateful to the NYPD for quickly arresting the suspect.”
Coast could not be reached for comment.
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