Police in Georgia say they've arrested a former NFL player after he allegedly staged a hate crime at a bakery he owned near Atlanta in which the burglars purportedly spray-painted racial slurs, swastikas and "MAGA" on the walls of his business.
Edawn Louis Coughman, 31, was arrested by Gwinett County Police on Thursday on charges of filing a False Report of a Crime, Insurance Fraud, and Concealing a License Plate. According to a statement from the department, someone called 911 to report a burglary at Coughman's businesses located in Lawrenceville, the Create and Bake Restaurant and Coughman's Creamery. The 911 caller told police someone was inside the stores, damaging the businesses and was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado with no license plate.
Officers were dispatched to the location where they located a truck matching the witnesses's description, leaving the shopping center. The officers pulled the truck over and made contact with Coughman, who was driving the vehicle. They noted that there were several televisions inside the bed of the Silverado, still attached to the brackets with damaged drywall. They learned Coughman was the owner of the businesses and discovered the back door to one of the businesses had been pried open. When officers went inside, they took photos of graffiti words and symbols that had been spray-painted on the walls, including several racial slurs, a swastika and "MAGA," for President Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again."
The vandalism was extensive as officers discovered broken mirrors, cut wires, and a damaged video surveillance system. The spray paint was still fresh, officers observed at the time.
Coughman told the cops that he'd reported the damage and theft to his insurance company earlier in the day, but hadn't called 911 to report the crime. However, investigators quickly determined that the damage hadn't been done earlier that day and arrested Coughman. His truck was impounded and taken to police headquarters for processing. Police later found a yellow crow bar and cans of black spray paint in his vehicle after obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle.
"It appears as though Edawn conjured a premeditated plan to damage his own property, attempt to make it appear as a hate crime, file a claim with his insurance company, and sell off the undamaged appliances and electronics," the statement from the department read.
Coughman was released on bond on Thursday.
Coughman was never an NFL star, and didn't play in any regular season games. He was signed onto eight different teams at various points in his career, including the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Arizona Cardinals.
Photo: Gwinnet County Police