Tomas Rudin said he was taking a time-out from politics. File photo: Thomas Carlgren
A high-ranking Social Democrat in Stockholm stepped down on Wednesday after he was caught taking a bottle of booze from a suburban liquor store.
"I'm so embarassed I could die," Stockholm shadow deputy mayor Tomas Rudin, 48, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
Rudin was stopped on February 1st by a female security guard outside a branch of state-run liquor retailer Systembolaget.
The guard saw Rudin put a bottle of whisky in his jacket. He then picked up two bottles of alcohol-free wine and proceeded to the check out. While he paid for the bottles of wine, the bottle of Highland Park whisky, which retails for 502 kronor ($77), remained in his coat.
Rudin was held until police arrived on the scene. During questioning, he claimed he was stressed during his Saturday shopping and simply forgot about the whisky in his jacket.
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Rudin nevertheless admitted to the crime and was released after questioning, with formal criminal charges being filed on Wednesday.
Later on Wednesday, Rudin stepped down from his position, citing an alcohol problem.
"I'm so terribly ashamed of my alcoholism - it's hard to say these words - and I can't live with all these questions and everyone wondering, so it's just as good to nip in it in the bud and take care of it," he told the TT news agency.
He added that he plans to seek help for his alcoholism.
"I held off for ten years and then I started drinking a bit and thought I had found a balance, but now it's clear that things have gone off the rails," he told TT.
Ludin said he has been supported by his party colleagues, but can't answer as to whether he retains any political trust.
"I don't know where we go from here, that's something the party must decide."
If convicted, Ludin risks a hefty fine, as the penalty is indexed to one's income. Last year, Rudin's taxable income was just under 1.2 million kronor, Aftonbladet reported.
After news of Rudin's shoplifting scandal emerged, Social Democrats in Stockholm convened a crisis meeting to discuss how to handle the situation, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported.