Two men found clambering around the top of one of the towers of the Washington Cathedral about midnight last night were arrested by police who flew around the gothic structure in a helicopter and issued orders from below with a bullhorn.

The late night silence of the peaceful neighborhood around the monumental edifice was suddenly shattered by the bizarre and unexpected incident, during which one officer shouted from far below, in almost cinematic fashion: "You better come down -- there's no place you can hide."

The two men, first spotted by Cathedral security officers, did in come down, but not before the helicopter made a number of passes about the unfinished Cathedral, playing its spotlight on its soaring stone towers, vaults and buttresses.

"It was weird," said one witness, Joan Willoughby. "It was like a light show."

Cathedral security officers said the men apparently climbed to the top of the tower on scaffolding that covers part of the exterior.

What was not immediately clear, however, is what the two were doing there.

The men, who were not immediately identified, were charged with burglary, according to a second police district detective. He described the pair as Maryland residents in their mid-20s.