Allegedly spray painted racially-charged symbols such as swastikas and the acronym “MAGA”
(Duluth, Georgia) A Gwinnett County business owner is facing criminal charges after allegedly destroying his business in an attempt to look like a burglary.
Gwinnett County Police report that Edawn Louis Coughman, 31, of Buford was arrested during the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 12 and booked into the Gwinnett County Jail. He has been charged with false report of a crime, insurance fraud, and concealing a license plate. He has since bonded out of jail.
According to the press release from GCPD, “just before 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, officers assigned to the Central Precinct were dispatched to a “Burglary in Progress” call at the Create and Bake Restaurant and Coughman’s Creamery at 1956 Duluth Highway in unincorporated Lawrenceville. The caller stated that a suspect was inside damaging the businesses. The witness told the 911 call-taker that the suspect was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado with no license plate. Officers saturated the area and located the truck leaving the shopping center. The officers made contact with the driver, Edawn Louis Coughman. The officers noticed several televisions in the bed of the truck and inside the cab. The TVs were still attached to the brackets with damaged drywall.”
Officers learned that the suspect was the owner of the businesses. They found the back door to one of the businesses with yellow pry marks and inside the business there was a smell of fresh spray paint and graffiti with swastikas and the acronym “MAGA” spray-painted on the walls. The spray paint was wet. Also, booth cushions were sliced open and there were broken mirrors, cut wires, and a damaged video surveillance system. Coughman allegedly told the officers that he noticed the damage and theft early in the day and had reported it to his insurance company but failed to call 911.
After an investigation revealed that the damage did not happen earlier as Coughman had claimed, he was arrested and the truck was impounded to Gwinnett County Police Headquarters for processing. On Thursday afternoon, the Burglary Unit and Crime Scene Unit executed a search warrant on the truck and allegedly located a yellow crowbar and a can of black spray paint.
GCPD report that it appears that Coughman allegedly attempted a premeditated plan to damage his own property, make it look like a hate crime, file a claim with his insurance company, and sell off the undamaged appliances and electronics.