OLYMPIA, Wash. - Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman pleaded not guilty Thursday to stealing a $70 chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey last month.
During a brief hearing in Thurston County District Court, Eyman mostly stayed silent as his lawyer, Casey Arbenz, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.
The judge set the next hearing for April 16 and ordered Eyman not to have any contact with the Office Depot store in Lacey where the incident took place.
The theft charge was filed against Eyman after surveillance video showed him meandering about the front of the store on Feb. 13 and then sitting in the chair before walking off with it and not paying for it.
Eyman released a statement after the incident saying he was distracted by a phone call and took the chair by accident.
"I went through the process of paying (and) as I left the store, I thought all was paid for," he said in an affidavit released to the media.
His lawyer also said earlier that Eyman returned the chair to the store.
Store employees say they checked the surveillance video after noticing that the office chair near the entryway was missing. The video shows Eyman wearing a bright red shirt with the words "Let the voter decide" emblazoned across the front, the police report said.
Eyman then can be seen walking into the foyer, sitting on the office chair, spinning in it and wheeling it out the front door.
Eyman is known for his $30 car-tab initiative, which is headed to the Legislature. If the Legislature does not approve the Initiative 976, it will go to voters in November.