Thinking of driving through Mesa with a dildo on the front seat of your car? Think again.

Mesa sculptor William Jakimow recently learned that lesson the hard way.
While returning from an East Valley ceramics studio several weeks ago, the 41-year-old artist made the mistake of hauling along a footlong plaster replica of a penis.

Jakimow now could face up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine because a female motorist complained to cops that she'd somehow caught a glimpse of the "gross" phallus.

"People out in Mesa seem to have a real knack for spotting penises," says Jakimow, referring to the Mesa mom who made a big squawk last summer when she spotted a phallic symbol on a video box. "Maybe this is the same woman who `saw' the penis on the cover of The Little Mermaid."

The artist gave birth to his troublesome objet d'art on March 25, sculpting it as part of a larger work depicting the seven stages of an erection. Jakimow swears he had nothing sinister in mind as he drove from his studio--he simply laid the freshly cast phallus on the car seat beside him in hopes of drying the plaster more quickly. He says, "I figured with the windows down, it'd help circulate the air."

The open windows did anything but clear the air. "I got to a stop sign and hit the brakes," says the artist. "The penis fell off the seat so I bent down and picked it up. Apparently that's when whoever saw it, saw it, because when I got home, the police were at the house. They told me, `We've got a report from a woman in Mesa saying that you have a fake-looking penis that's big and ugly and we want to search your car.'"

He says he was flabbergasted. "At first, I had no idea what the police were even talking about," he says. Then he discovered the police were investigating him for indecent exposure.

According to a police report, a female motorist claimed she had spied the phallus when she found herself to the left of Jakimow's vehicle at the intersection of University and Val Vista. Not that she actually saw the penis, mind you. Instead, when she looked past Jakimow, she merely saw a reflection of the phallus in the passenger seat's mirrored visor, which was aimed in her direction.

In the report, the woman theorizes that the visor in Jakimow's car had been intentionally angled to give her a view of the phallus.

Jakimow vehemently denies being an exhibitionist. Even the police report notes that throughout the entire "incident," Jakimow stared straight ahead and appeared oblivious to the female motorist.

"I've got the mirror turned that way so I can comb my beard before I get out of the car," says Jakimow, explaining the odd placement of the visor. "Besides, there's no way in the world for me to know what anyone's going to be seeing in that mirror."

Jakimow also disputes the witness' claim that he suddenly turned up volume on his car stereo in an effort to draw attention to the strategically placed mirror.

All that aside, the trouble started when the woman called Mesa police, and they flew into action--even though the woman made it clear to them that she realized the penis was a "fake."

Using the license plate number supplied by the witness, cops tracked Jakimow to the home of a friend who had lent him the car. Shortly later, another set of cops drove by with the "shocked and disgusted" witness.

After she provided a positive I.D. of Jakimow, he was busted for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. A subsequent search of the car turned up both the tawdry tallywacker and a small quantity of marijuana. Both penis and pot were seized as evidence.

Held overnight in Mesa City Jail, Jakimow was released on his own recognizance. Last week, the police finally returned the phallus to Jakimow. City prosecutors have yet to file charges against him.

Jakimow doesn't know whether to be angry at the bust or grateful for the publicity. "Everyone I've talked to," he says, "seems to think this is amusing--except the Mesa Police Department."

(Attention, Mesa readers: The phallus is headed to the Alwun House in Phoenix this weekend as part of an erotic art show.)

"There's no way in the world for me to know what anyone's going to be seeing in that mirror.

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Dewey Webb