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Politician accused of watermelon theft

A man running for the Chowan County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina has been charged with stealing a $3 watermelon from a farmer's field.

Dana Soles is scheduled to appear Sept. 23 in District Court on a felony larceny of ungathered crops charge, which could land him in jail for up to 30 months if he is convicted, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

Soles said he was en route to delivering groceries to the family of a former colleague who had lost his job Aug. 21 when he came across a field of watermelons that he said he heard was due to be tilled. He said he took the watermelon and placed it in his car and admitted to initially denying he had put anything in the vehicle when a deputy stopped to ask if he was having car trouble, Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin said.

Goodwin said Soles eventually admitted to taking the watermelon and was issued a summons Aug. 29.
Soles said the watermelons "were rotting out there" and he "honestly didn't know it was a crime" to remove one of them.

Soles is running on the Republican ticket for District 1, Seat 1 in November's race against Democrat Emmett Winborne.
He said he offered to pay the farmer for the watermelon and he believes his prosecution is politically motivated.

"Had I not been running for office I think things would have been different," he said. "I don't feel I'm the criminal they're making me out to be."
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