Sullivan County

Man robbed after letting woman inside to use his phone

Home invasion robbery

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Police said a man offering help to strangers was robbed inside his home.

Officers with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office told us it happened last night near Kingsport. The police report states officers got the call just before 10:30 Monday night on Princeton road.

Edward Tomlinson was just trying to be a good citizen when a woman knocked on his door Monday night.

"She wanted to use the phone, and I let her in and handed her the phone," said Tomlinson Tuesday.

He said shortly after, two men came inside. One asked to use his bathroom, but when the man came out Tomlinson said he turned violent.

"[He] passed me there in the doorway there at the kitchen. Next thing I know he hit me right there," said Tomlinson as he pointed to the side of his face.

Tomlinson told us he was shoved to the ground and covered with a curtain. "Then they brought the sheet out of the bedroom [and] put that on me, too. They said, 'Stay down! Stay down!'" Tomlinson added.

The police report states Tomlinson's wallet was stolen along with money from inside his safe before the suspects left his house and drove away.

Police told News 5 they have a few leads in this case, but they're hoping residents think twice before acting on their instincts of hospitality. "It's sad to have to say this, but anytime someone knocks on your door at night, automatically be suspicious. [You're] better safe than sorry," said Leslie Earhart, public information officer for the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

It's a lesson learned too late for Tomlinson. "I wouldn't open the door and tell them to come on in next time," he said. "They need to be punished. They took all the money I had to live."

If you have any information about this case you're asked to call the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office at (423) 279-7500.  

You can also anonymously submit a tip online at

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