Man arrested for indecent exposure in Hanover parking lot - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Man arrested for indecent exposure in Hanover parking lot

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MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

A man is facing serious charges after investigators say he was caught masturbating in the middle of the parking lot in a Hanover shopping center. Hanover investigators say this is Steven L. Cornwell's third charge of indecent exposure. That means, the charge is now a felony.

During a 7 a.m. trip to Starbucks near Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville, one wouldn't expect to spot a man in the midst of lewd behavior. This early morning display last Wednesday, is just what Stephen L. Cornwell, of Front Royal, is accused of doing.

Someone encountered a man with his pants off, right front of a shopping center lined with stores. Officers say the man was spotted in the parking lot, standing in between two cars, fondling himself with his pants down. Investigators say Cornwell realized he was seen, and took off on foot. Officers immediately begin searching for the suspect.

The man then entered a Cracker Barrel restaurant nearby. Employees say he stole a Hawaiian themed shirt from the gift shop, by stuffing it down his pants. Police believe he tried to disguise himself by switching clothes.

Regardless, officers tracked down Cornwell and arrested him. Cornwell is facing felony indecent exposure and larceny. He's out of jail on a $10,000 bond.

Richmond clinical psychologist Dr. Alan Entin says a slew of emotional or psychological reasons could possess someone to reveal themselves in public.

"Really passive-aggressive…acting out in an attempt to scare people…It's a sign of very immature emotional functioning…It could be a sign of a mental disorder," continued Dr. Entin.

Meantime, Ashland police are trying identify a man reported masturbating openly on England Street, about an hour before Cornwell was arrested, that same morning.    

Ashland investigators are looking for any witness who may be able to positively identify that suspect.

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