|On February 2, 2015 at approximately 2:30 AM, Kingsport Central Dispatch received an anonymous tip that three suspects had been observed “flipping” a safe across the parking lot and were last seen dragging it inside apartment D-9. Kingsport Police Patrol Officers responded to this apartment and came in contact with the resident, Willard C. Harmon, his son, Dustin H. Hickman, and another accomplice, Dustin E. Stacy.
Mr. Harmon invited the officers inside his apartment, where they immediately observed a large safe sitting in plain view in the middle of the kitchen floor. The trio initially claimed that they had “found” the safe in a Downtown Kingsport alleyway; however, further investigation revealed that they had stolen the safe during a burglary they committed earlier that night at a warehouse owned by Still Transfer, located at 133 Commerce Street.
While inside the apartment, the officers also observed a live military smoke grenade. Further inquiry determined that Mr. Harmon was aware that the grenade was in his apartment; but it actually belonged to Mr. Hickman. Mr. Hickman stated that he liked to collect war memorabilia and had obtained the grenade from “some kid” he met at the Kingsport Skate Park. A member of the K.P.D. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit took possession of the grenade and transported it to a safe storage facility.
A subsequent inspection of the warehouse on Commerce Street revealed damage to a chain link fence, a window, and some locks. Officers also observed a trail of scratch marks where the safe had been dragged across the floor. The suspects had loaded the safe onto the rear trunk lid of a vehicle to transport it back to Model City Apartments, and at some point during their getaway, the safe had shattered the rear window of the vehicle. Mr. Stacy also sustained injuries when the safe fell on his foot. All their efforts were for naught, as the safe turned out to be completely empty; however, even empty, it had a value of over $500.
The three suspects were arrested and charged with Burglary and Theft over $500. Mr. Harmon and Mr. Hickman were also charged with Possession of a Prohibited Weapon. All three individuals were transported to the Kingsport City Jail where they remain incarcerated pending arraignment.