A break-in at the Boston headquarters of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was described yesterday by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley as a "third-rate burglary attempt" by two men with no connections to any campaign.
Conley said Boston police arrested the suspects sitting inside a car outside Romney's Commercial Street headquarters about 2:43 a.m. Two open bottles of beer tumbled out of the car when police opened one of the doors, police said.
"We have no evidence to suggest that this was politically motivated," said Conley in a telephone interview. "It has all the earmarks of a third-rate burglary attempt. The suspects never even made it out of the parking lot."
Conley's description of the break-in - the second at Romney's headquarters since the fall - was a reference to how a top aide to former President Nixon portrayed the 1972 break-in at Democratic Party headquarters by Nixon political operatives. It triggered the Watergate scandal and led to Nixon's resignation in 1974.
Police identified the suspects in yesterday's break-in as Daniel J. Bradley, 28, and Michael J. Sauer, 30, both of Cambridge. With hooded sweat shirts pulled forward to obscure their faces, the men pleaded not guilty in Boston Municipal Court to charges of breaking and entering and possession of burglarious tools.
A new, unopened Apple computer found in the car was seized as evidence.
Bradley has six pending cases in Middlesex County. Judge Thomas Horgan ordered him held without bail on those cases, and set bail at $3,000 cash for the new arrest. His Boston-based lawyer, Sarah McClean, said Bradley was a Michigan native who lives with his mother and has had medical issues.
Sauer has no criminal record, and Horgan set his bail at $2,000 cash. His laywer, Thomas Kaplanes, said Sauer was working as a custodian in the Arlington public school system.
In September, thieves stole seven laptop computers and their docking stations from Romney's headquarters, along with a 37-inch plasma television that belonged to Spencer Zwick, the candidate's finance manager and a close personal adviser. At the time, the campaign said the break-in was not connected to Romney's presidential bid. No arrests were made in that burglary.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, praised what he called the rapid response of Boston police.
Sauer identified himself as a political independent on his voter registration, public records show. Bradley is a convicted felon and is not registered to vote, records show.
The two men are due back in court Feb. 20.
Globe Correspondent Matt Collette contributed to this report.