VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- An amateur turned professional mixed martial arts fighter has been arrested, accused of exposing himself and masturbating in front of multiple victims over the course of several months at the Landstown Commons Shopping Center in Virginia Beach.
The suspect said he's wrongly accused.
“It’s a nightmare. I feel like I’m in a nightmare right now," said 24-year old Imani Smith. “I didn’t do it. There’s proof that I didn’t do it.”
Virginia Beach Police said the suspect would sit in his car and ask women passing by for "directions." As the victim approached the vehicle, the suspect would expose and perform a sexual act on himself.
Smith told 13News Now a police officer told him they were on the lookout for a Hispanic man with tattoos. He believes it was a case of mistaken identity.
“I agree with her, I do have a lot of tattoos," he said. "But it’s obvious I’m not Hispanic. I don’t even look Hispanic.”
Virginia Beach Police first received reports of the man back in March but was unable to identify or locate him at the time. Then two additional reports matching the same suspect description were made in June.
After police asked the public if more people experienced similar incidents, several more reports were made of the Landstown flasher.
Smith claims to have an alibi for every alleged date he's been accused in.
“I got text messages and pictures and locations and all of that," he said.
Smith said he was at work in Williamsburg during the alleged offenses in March. In June, he admitted to being at the shopping center to shop, but he was busy in the hours before that.
“I was at the boys and girls club in South Norfolk doing community work all morning of June 9th relating to my Mixed Martial arts career," he said.
Smith is charged with six counts of indecent exposure, and four counts of masturbation or simulated in public.
He was granted bond by a judge Monday, but ordered to stay off of Landstown Commons. "I'm okay with that," he said. Smith will be back in court August 15th.
“I’m going to use this experience to say ‘Hey, look just because you’re out doing good doesn't mean some BS won’t still happen to you...but you’ve got to put your head up," Smith explained.
An online MMA website lists Imani Smith as an amateur fighter with a record of 6-8-0.