Former NFL player accused of staging racially motivated burglary

/ CBS/AP

A man trashed his pizza restaurant and ice cream shop near Atlanta to fake a racially motivated burglary so he could file an insurance claim, police said. CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports that Edawn Louis Coughman, 31, played for several NFL teams from 2012-2016, last suiting up for the Arizona Cardinals.

A police photo from the Create and Bake Restaurant and Coughman's Creamery. Gwinnett County Police

Gwinnett County police officers responded just before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after a 911 call reporting a man damaging the businesses, according to a Friday news release. The caller said the man was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado without a license plate.

Officers stopped a truck matching that description as it was leaving the shopping center and noticed televisions attached to brackets with damaged drywall in the back, the release says. They learned the driver, 31-year-old Edawn Louis Coughman, owned the businesses.

A back door of one of the businesses had yellow pry marks, and officers saw swastikas, "MAGA" and racial slurs on the walls inside in what appeared to be fresh black spray paint, the release said. Some of the booth cushions were sliced open, mirrors were broken, wires were cut and a video surveillance system was broken.

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Coughman told officers he noticed the damage and theft earlier in the day and called his insurance company but not police. Officers concluded the damage hadn't actually happened earlier in the day and arrested Coughman on charges of false report of a crime, insurance fraud and concealing a license plate.

Fake Burglary-Charges
This undated photo provided by the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Police Department shows Edawn Louis Coughman. Gwinnett County Police via AP

After getting a search warrant for Coughman's truck, officers searched it Thursday afternoon and found a yellow crowbar and cans of black spray paint.

Police said it appears Coughman planned to make it look like a hate crime had been committed and to file an insurance claim while also selling the undamaged electronics and appliances.

Police said Coughman has bonded out of jail. A phone number for him could not immediately be found, and it wasn't clear whether he had an attorney who could comment.

WGCL-TV reports that in addition to playing in the NFL, Coughman also played in the Canadian Football League. He attended Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia.

First published on September 15, 2019 / 12:22 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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