Warrant: NAS Jax mechanic arrested after 3 teens say he exposed himself

Tommy Thrasher says he never exposed himself to girls at Fleming Island gas station

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A Naval Air Station Jacksonville mechanic was arrested this week on a charge of lewd and lascivious exhibition after three teenagers told deputies he exposed himself to them and performed a lewd act earlier this month at a Fleming Island gas station, according to an arrest warrant.

The warrant said the three teens -- ages 15, 16 and 17 -- were pumping gas at the gas station on County Road 220 on Nov. 13 when they witnessed lewd exhibition by a man, who was later identified as 51-year-old Tommy Thrasher.

On Tuesday, Clay County deputies showed up at Thrasher’s Green Cove Springs home and took him into custody on the arrest warrant. He was out of jail on bond Wednesday when he told News4Jax that this was a big misunderstanding, and he never exposed himself.

Thrasher said he was pumping gas at the Fleming Island gas station when he noticed what he thought was an altercation inside the car behind him.

“I probably looked a little bit longer than I should have to see what was going on. The girls reacted in such a way that was rude to me," he said. “They were, like, ‘What are you looking at old man?’"

So, Thrasher said, he retaliated against the three girls by pulling out a homemade object covered in flesh-toned gauze.

“I thought it was going to be funny, something really harmless. In hindsight, it’s not harmless. It was in my hoodie pocket. I put it close to my crotch and gestured," Thrasher said. “They did think it was the real thing.”

Thrasher said that the homemade object was supposed to be used as part of a practical joke with a couple of his co-workers.

“They probably felt threatened, which is why they fled the way they did. So, in hindsight, I’m very sorry, remorseful for what I did,” he said. “The moment I did it, not even a second went by, and I felt the conviction. And I knew humiliation was going to follow.”

Looking back at how things played out at the gas station, Thrasher said, he wishes he could have handled things differently.

“I would like to deeply apologize to them -- a heartfelt apology," he said. “I didn’t consider the effect it was going to have on myself, my family and these other families."

Detectives noted in the arrest warrant that Thrasher had been previously investigated for similar behavior, however, News4Jax checked court records and did not find any similar charges.

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