Kingsport police: Robbery victim unmasks suspect, recognizes him; Grabs baseball bat

Joe Sotella (Source: Kingsport Police Department)

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Kingsport police charged a man with aggravated robbery and burglary after he tried to steal from someone he knew.

Police say around 9:00 p.m. Saturday night a 52-year-old woman who lives on Bond Drive answered a knock at the door when she saw a woman was holding a “Lost Dog”  flyer, but when she opened the door a masked man entered the doorway and grabbed her.

According to police, the woman was able to remove part of the man’s mask and recognized him as a long-time family friend identified as 34-year-old Joe Sotello.

Then, the victim reports she saw a gun in his waistband and so she grabbed a baseball bat.

Two other teenage witnesses inside the home also stepped in. Together the three females pushed Sotello from the home.

The woman, who was allegedly holding the dog flyer, is reportedly Sotello’s girlfriend.

The woman drove away from the scene, but Sotello ran away and was later found at the home of one of the victim’s relatives.

His girlfriend reportedly turned herself in but was not charged. Police say her limited role was done out of fear.

Sotello has been charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. He was transported to Kingsport City Jail, but due to his injuries, he was taken to the local hospital for medical assistance.

Police said after giving several false statements, Sotello allegedly confessed and said he had been going through some tough times.

Sotello is currently behind bars at the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville, pending an arraignment and a $35,000 bond.

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