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Dale and Kathy Peterson Dale and Kathy Peterson  

Dale Peterson explains ‘bizarre’ arrest for eating ’22 cents worth of peanuts’

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Dale Peterson, the Alabama Republican best known for his viral campaign videos railing against “thugs and criminals,” is calling his second shoplifting arrest in five months “so bizarre and so idiotic” and is suggesting his political enemies are somehow behind his woes.

“I can tell you right now on a stack of Bibles, Dale Peterson is not a thief,” he told The Daily Caller in his first interview since being arrested Wednesday in Birmingham.

Peterson confirmed to TheDC that he was taken to jail after shopping Wednesday afternoon at a Sam’s Club. Store security accused him of stealing after he ate a handful of cashews from a jar and then returned the nuts to a shelf an hour-and-a-half later after deciding not to purchase them.

He maintains that he had simply forgotten he had eaten from the jar.

“Maybe I’m getting too damn old, getting CRS disease or whatever,” the colorful Peterson explained, using the acronym for the phrase, “can’t remember shit.”

“I genuinely did not think about it when I put those peanuts back over there on that shelf,” he said.

Peterson argues his arrest over “22 cents worth of peanuts” is “unbelievable” because he tried to pay the store for the nuts after realizing his mistake. He also says he spent over $900 in the store that day.

“The whole jar was $13 dollars, but I had a little handful out there,” Peterson explained. “Never opened them again. And if you want to break it down, it’s about 22 cents worth of peanuts.”

Here’s Peterson’s version of events, as he described during a long phone call with TheDC:

What he was doing at the store: “Kathy doesn’t do any shopping,” he said of his wife. “I do all the grocery buying and that. I go over to Sam’s, go in, pay $750 on my account, grab a buggy, and I go over to the counter and get my vitamins, come back around there and get peanuts — cashews — we always get those.”

Why he ate the nuts while in the store: “I said, ‘Hell, I’m going to buy these things anyway,’ so I opened them, got me a handful, closed them back up real tight, sealed them and was munching on them.”

What he did in the store for the next hour-and-a-half: “I was going down through there, eating little chicken strips that they give away or some yogurt. Sometimes you get through, you’re full, you’ve had lunch there.”

Why he returned the nuts: “I had my buggy full, and I’m walking up to the cash register. And I look down at the buggy, and I’m seeing if I had all my items, and I said, ‘Ah, hell, we don’t need peanuts,’ so I reached in there, and I put them back. And it never dawned on me an hour-and-a-half earlier I took a handful out and ate them. It just didn’t. It just slipped my mind.”

How the accusation went down: “I paid $750 on my account when I first walked in the door. My monthly account was due. And then I bought, I think, $155 dollars worth of stuff. Then I walked outside, the guy said, ‘You didn’t pay for those peanuts that are in your stomach.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.’”

When he realized what was going on: “We started walking up to the security there. And I said, ‘Oh, my god, I do know.’ And it hit me that I opened it in the store right there and ate a handful of peanuts. When I put them back an hour-and-a-half later, I had forgotten — I hadn’t even thought about — that I had opened them an hour-and-a-half earlier.”

How he tried paying the store for the nuts: “I said, ‘For 22 cents worth of peanuts, you’re going to call the cops and put me in jail? When I’ll just buy the whole thing from you? Just put it on my account. I’ve got a card worth 10 thousand dollars there.’”

“I did what they said, but this is too coincidental,” Peterson argued.