KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Police in Kingsport are building a case against a serial stalker who has been harassing his victims since 2006.
Sargent Steve Hammonds, one of the investigators looking into the stalker, told News 5 they expect to have more than 100 victims, but they only began to recently tie these cases together.
"They've recently come to light based on new technology we have. New instant reporting software has given us the capability to do searches that were never before possible, so we've been able to link a lot of these stalking reports together over one suspect," explained Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton.
Patton said those cases extend to Sullivan County and out of state. Police aren't releasing much information about the suspect, other than it's a man who claims to offer handyman services. He has a lengthy arrest record that spans multiple states. "We are deliberately withholding his name, as well as any description. He has a fictitious handyman business he operates under, and we are withholding that company's name as well," said Patton.
They hope that withholding this information will lead to more people coming forward with uninfluenced testimony.
More victims means a higher probability of a successful prosecution. "He'll initially approach them under the guise or ruse of being a handyman. From there he just won't stop. Even if they tell him no, he will keep coming around. Or if they are initially nice to him, they just can't get rid of him from that point forward. And then it will evolve into other crimes," Patton said.
Patton said there is evidence that serial stalker has even been involved in multiple burglaries and is deliberate in selecting his victims. "It looks like he's looking at newspaper obituaries, possibly online obituaries. He's seeking out recently-widowed females, " Patton told News 5.
Patton also told News 5 that you do want to be cautious of anyone going door-to-door offering to work. He said a trustworthy contractor is usually so busy they don't need to solicit business.
The Kingsport Police Department hopes to release more information about the suspect in the coming days.
If you or someone you know may be a victim, you can call the Kingsport Police Department at 423-224-2411.