The two men wandering a Tacoma neighborhood around 2:45 a.m. insisted they were walking home from a casino but police suspected they were stealing wire.
Officers asked Eric Frost and Jodie Dean why theyd chosen a random neighborhood to walk through in 21 degree weather and why the street light went out after they pulled up in Frosts car.
The men did not give satisfactory answers and were arrested Feb. 4.
On Tuesday, they pleaded not guilty to malicious mischief. Frost, 46, was ordered jailed in lieu of $35,000. Dean, 44, is being held on $50,000 bail.
Neighbors near East 51st and N streets called police Feb. 4 after seeing two men tampering with the only street light in the neighborhood, which then went dark.
Police searched Dean and found a knife and two rolls of electrical tape. He said hed installed a car stereo earlier, according to charging papers.
In Frosts car officers allegedly discovered bolt cutters, a voltage tester and other tools commonly used to steal wire.
Tacoma Public Utilities said it would cost $2,000 to replace the street light.
Police checked with local shops that buy copper wire and found that Frost sold 88 pounds of copper wire since January, court records show.