Man arrested after exposing himself in parking lot of North Raleigh shopping center

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a man, his wife and their two children were visiting a popular North Raleigh shopping center when he spotted something suspicious - a man in a car parked right outside of a children's store.

"At first I didn't know what he was doing so I continued on to the store but then something told me to turn around and look again. So I looked again and that's when I saw him and his privates out," Jhamel Barnett told ABC11.

Barnett said he confronted the man.

"I asked him what he's doing and he says he's just on the phone. And I asked him did he need his privates out to be on the phone, and he said, 'No, what's the problem?'"

Barnett said he responded by telling the man, "'It's indecent exposure. It's illegal.' And he's like, 'Oh, who are you? Are you the police?'"

As it turns out, Barnett, 25, was sworn in as a Wake County Sheriff's Deputy in February.

"I show him my credentials and he says, 'What's the problem? I'm just waiting on my friends.' Then I said, 'So you're just going to (slang term) while you're waiting on your friends?' And he just didn't see any problem with it," Barnett said.

So he took a picture of the man's license plate and called Raleigh Police.

All the while, Barnett said families were strolling back and forth by the man's car, which was parked right outside Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child, a used clothing store at Poyner Place Shopping Center behind Triangle Town Center mall.

Police arrived and charged 36-year-old Natanael Chevez Rivas with indecent exposure.

Barnett said Rivas' belt was still unbuckled and his pants unzipped when police pulled him out of his car.

The charge against Rivas is a misdemeanor so he quickly posted his $1,000 bond and walked out of the Wake County Detention Center just a few hours after he was arrested.

Barnett found the crime particularly brazen saying, "To expose yourself in front of Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child, it is. There's a reason why it's illegal."

And he can't help but wonder what the future holds for the suspect.

"It all starts somewhere, and I don't know the man. I don't know his history but I do know that if you get caught exposing yourself in public and you get approached by a law enforcement officer and you don't think that you need to start covering up, I think that there's a problem with that."
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.