Ex-NFL player arrested for allegedly staging hate crime at his own bakery
A former NFL player allegedly created a fake hate crime at his Georgia business in which he claimed burglars spray-painted racial slurs, swastikas and "MAGA" at his bakery.
Edawn Louis Coughman, 31, was arrested Thursday on charges of filing a false report of a crime, insurance fraud, and concealing a license plate after he told police a burglar was responsible for spray painting racist language and imagery on the walls of his bakery, according to Gwinett County Police.
"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," police said.
Police said that they were called for a burglary report at Coughman's business, Create and Bake Restaurant and Coughman's Creamery, in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville on Wednesday night. The 911 caller told police that someone was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado with no license plate.
When officers arrived to the shopping center, they stopped a truck matching the description and saw Coughman driving the Silverado. It appeared that Coughman had several televisions in the back of the truck with mounting brackets on the back with "damaged drywall" attached, police said.
Officers saw the backdoor of the bakery had "yellow pry marks" and saw the graffiti on the walls was still wet from the paint.
"Several booth cushions were sliced open," the Gwinett County Police said. "They also found broken mirrors, cut wires, and a damaged video surveillance system."
Coughman told police that he saw the damage earlier in the day and called his insurance company, but not the police. But investigators found the incident occurred much later than the former NFL player alleged.
A search warrant on Coughman's Silverado found a yellow crowbar and cans of black spray paint in the truck.
Coughman never played in a regular-season game with the NFL, but was signed on to eight different teams, according to NBC affiliate WXIA. He also played nine games in 2011 for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.
It is unclear whether Coughman, who was released on bond, has an attorney.