HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — A former agriculture commissioner candidate who promised to take on the “thugs and criminals” in Montgomery is now facing a shoplifting charge.

A spokesman for the Hoover Police Department said Dale Peterson was arrested Oct. 15 on a charge of third-degree theft of property. Police say employees at a Wal-Mart stopped him after he pushed a shopping cart of beer and paper towels past the cash registers without paying for the contents.

Peterson told WAPI radio that he had to go to the restroom and he intended to pay for the merchandise. He said store security stopped him when he came out of the restroom.

Peterson’s ads in the 2010 Republican primary featured him holding a rifle and promising to go after “thugs and criminals.” The ads went viral on YouTube.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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