Over the past several years, multiple Kingsport and Sullivan County women — oftentimes recently widowed — have been solicited by an unknown man.
He approaches as they're working in their yards, walking or out shopping, frequently offering handyman work. The advances are spurned, but his contact with the women persists to the point of stalking — and in some cases, alleged theft and assault.
Thanks to new reporting software technology, Kingsport Police Department investigators say they've been able to cross-reference multiple incidents to get a bead on the suspect and his modus operandi.
Citing an ongoing investigation and efforts to maintain its integrity, KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton says specific details about the case — the man's identity, fictitious handyman business, etc. — will for now be withheld from the public.
However, investigators are requesting anyone to whom the above scenarios sound familiar, either occurring to themselves or a loved one, to contact police and report the incident.
Police say that citizen complaints have been filed "over a period of several years." Along with stalking, allegations against the man include burglary, theft, phone harassment and assault.
"There is some indication that this man reviews the obituaries posted in local newspapers or online, then specifically targets widows identified as the next-of-kin of the deceased," states a KPD press release.
The suspect was reportedly identified as part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation between the KPD, Sullivan County Sheriff's Office and Sullivan County District Attorney's Office.
"The Kingsport Police Department wishes to caution area residents to be aware that criminal behavior such as this does take place within our community," states the KPD press release. "Area law enforcement officials are continually improving our investigative capabilities in an ongoing effort to bring these offenders to justice and improve the overall safety of our community."
Anyone with potential information in the investigation is asked to contact KPD Sgt. Steve Hammonds at (423) 224-2411, KPD Det. Terry Christian at (423) 229-9474 or SCSO Det. Lt. Bobby Russell at (423) 279-7500.comments powered by Disqus