Charges: Seattle drive-by masturbator caught on camera

SEATTLE - A Marysville man accused of exposing himself repeatedly to residents of a South Seattle block now faces felony charges.

King County prosecutors contend Steven Lee Schmidt's masturbatory habits plagued residents in the 7000 block of Rainier Avenue South for months.

On numerous occasions, Schmidt, 51, was spotted pants-less and pleasuring himself while behind the wheel of his Chevy Silverado pickup, according to charging papers. Schmidt is alleged to have slowed down as he passed residents and onlookers, one of whom ultimately caught him on camera.

“The defendant is a danger to the community based on the alarming frequency and indiscriminate nature of his offending … which potentially exposes not only adults but minors,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carol Spoor said in court papers.

Spoor noted Schmidt was previously convicted of a misdemeanor after exposing himself to a barista in Snohomish County.

According to charging papers, the Seattle flashings were first reported on Aug. 21, when a 54-year-old woman told police a naked, masturbating man had driven by her home.

The woman told Seattle investigators the driver passed her home and then returned an hour later, again naked and rubbing himself. She said he appeared to be looking at a group of children playing nearby.

Speaking with police, the woman’s husband said he’d seen the same driver doing the same thing three or four weeks before.

Another woman told officers she first saw the masturbating driver on May 21. According to charging papers, the 27-year-old woman said the driver passed her home about nine times; she was able to photograph him on several passes.

Like others on the block, she saw him again on Aug. 21; she also photographed his truck. She told police she saw him a third time on Aug. 27; that time, she said the naked man passed her home 15 times.

“She said that she was shocked, disgusted, and felt traumatized,” a Seattle detective said in charging papers.

“It seemed to her that when the male approached the people or children playing he would slow down as if he wanted people to notice him,” he continued.

Reviewing photos of the truck, police identified Schmidt as the offender, the detective told the court. Contacted by police, Schmidt denied exposing himself to anyone.

Schmidt has been charged with two counts of felony indecent exposure. A $15,000 warrant for his arrest has been issued.