Kingsport man charged with carjacking elderly newspaper carrier

Rain Smith • Dec 6, 2018 at 12:15 PM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man has been arrested for allegedly pulling a 75-year-old newspaper carrier from his van at a gas station, throwing him to the ground, and fleeing in the vehicle.

On Wednesday, Matthew L. Serpas, 34, was booked into the Kingsport city jail. He's charged with carjacking in the Oct. 28 incident at Zoomerz, 2306 Sullivan Gardens Parkway.

According to a report at the Kingsport Police Department, shortly after 4 a.m. the victim was preparing to begin his newspaper route for the Kingsport Times News. He had stopped to get a drink at the convenience store, but before he could exit his 2003 Chevrolet Venture, an unknown man opened his door.

The carrier was reportedly pulled from his vehicle and thrown to the ground. The suspect hopped behind the wheel and drove away, briefly stopping to secure a rear hatch that opened and dumped bundles of papers on the road.

About 12 hours later, a KPD patrol officer located the van abandoned on North Holston River Drive. Swabs were used to collect DNA evidence from the interior of the vehicle. Detectives also reviewed surveillance footage from the store and interviewed a witness.

Serpas, residence listed as an apartment on Lynn Garden Drive, was developed as the suspect, and a warrant was obtained for his arrest. On Monday, he was apprehended during a traffic stop conducted by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

Serpas was driving a vehicle that was reportedly swerving on East Stone Drive, his license is suspended, netting his arrest on that offense and transport to the Blountville jail. Two days later, he was turned over to the KPD on their warrant.


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