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Man Offers Novel Excuse for Shoplifting Charge

January 4, 1995

PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A student facing shoplifting charges offered the court a novel excuse _ he wanted to go to jail like Nelson Mandela and write a book about it.

Michael Dladla, 22, said at his initial court hearing he shoplifted candy to be imprisoned and write a book about the experience, the South African Press Association reported.

President Mandela’s autobiography, ``Long Walk to Freedom,″ was published last fall. Dladla told the court he saw Mandela talking on television about his years in prison on terrorism charges and decided to try to get jail also.

Dladla said at the first hearing last month that he wanted life imprisonment.

But at his second hearing Tuesday, after spending several days in jail, Dladla agreed to be released with a warning to show up for subsequent appearances, SAPA reported.

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