Stephen Amaral agreed to their request, but the woman in her thirties then enquired if it would be okay if she swam naked. He said that was not a problem.
Police say the partner then apparently left to get some cigarettes, while the homeowner sat in his garden for a full 20 minutes watching the woman skinny-dipping.
"I went and got her a towel, she dried off and all of a sudden she was soaking wet again," the former sheriff's deputy told Nashville's WKRN-TV.
"I escorted her outside and invited her to church, but she said she didn't have time for that, she wasn't ready for that."
It was only after she left that Mr Amaral realised his old service revolver, jewellery and prescription drugs were missing.
He said he felt "violated" after doing the couple a good turn.
Police have identified the suspects, but say they are still investigating.
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