A former NFL player painted racial slurs on the walls and destroyed his Georgia business in an attempt to stake a fake hate crime and burglary, police said.
Edawn Louis Coughman, the owner of the restaurant in Lawrenceville — about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta — was arrested the next day.
Coughman played for several NFL teams from 2012 to 2016, including the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals.
Gwinnett County Police Corporal Michele Pihera told WSB-TV they still aren’t sure why Coughman might have targeted his own business.
“We don’t know if it was financial motivation or what the case is,” Pihera said.
A maintenance worker at the shopping plaza where Coughman’s establishment is located saw someone burglarizing the restaurant around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday and called the cops. Officers in the area spotted a black truck without a license plate and pulled it over thinking it could be a possible suspect.
It turned out Coughman was driving.
Officers searched the back of his truck and found several flat-screen TVs that looked suspicious.
“The brackets were still attached and there was still drywall attached to the brackets, meaning, someone took them off very quickly,” Pihera said.
When police arrived at the restaurant, they saw the places where TVs were likely ripped off the wall and said racial slurs like “monkey” and the N-word and the phrase “MAGA” were spray-painted on the walls.
They determined the paint was fresh and matched the black spray paint they saw on Coughman’s hands.
To make matters even worse for himself, he had already contacted his insurance company.
“He had reported this incident to his insurance company prior to officers conducting that first pullover,” Pihera told WSB-TV. “Everything lined up for this perfect arrest.”
Coughman was charged with insurance fraud, making a false report and a tag violation for taking his license plate off.
He bonded out of jail, but police said he may face more charges.
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