Two Puyallup men suspected of a string of burglaries in Pierce and King counties, including a home burglary on Mercer Island, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four counts of residential burglary and one count each of trafficking of stolen goods at their arraignment in the King County Courthouse.
Allen M. Ruedinger, 24, and Jeremy Warren Smith, 20, were arrested in Puyallup on Jan. 27, shortly after a burglary at a home on Mercer Island. They had been under surveillance for several days by the Bellevue Police Department Special Enforcement Team.
Although they are charged with burglaries only in Bellevue and Mercer Island, prosecutors say the two men are suspects in more than a dozen burglaries over the last several months. Prosecutors say the pair typically would break into houses after driving neighborhoods slowly in a car with tinted windows and watching for people leaving their homes.
Bellevue police say they could be responsible for far more than that, suspecting them of burglaries in Bothell, Renton, Newcastle, Puyallup, Renton, Federal Way and Kirkland as well. Mercer Island police believe two men are responsible for more than 20 burglaries on Mercer Island alone. However, a Kirkland police spokesman has told Patch that department knows of no connection.
Charging documents claim the pair targeted jewelry, electronics, cash and guns in the spree. They remain in the King County Jail in Seattle on bail of $200,000 each.
They face a case-setting hearing at the King County Courthouse on Feb. 27. Typically those are a procedural step allowing the defense to request “discovery” of the evidence.
For previous Patch coverage of the case, click here.