Two Suspects Charged in Attacks on Substations That Left Thousands Without Power

Two men have been arrested in connection with attacks on four electric substations in Washington state.

Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, both of Puyallup, Washington, were arrested Saturday, according to a Department of Justice news release. They face charges of conspiracy to attack energy facilities.

The attacks took place on Christmas Day, according to a criminal complaint filed against the two men.

The Graham and Elk Plain substations operated by Tacoma Power and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations operated by Puget Sound Energy were damaged in the attack. In all cases, a chain link fence was cut and a switch was manipulated to cause a power outage.

The complaint said 7,500 Tacoma Power customers were left in the dark when the power was cut. Axios reported that 15,500 customers overall were without power.

The damage to the Tacoma Power substations was estimated at $3 million. Fixing the damage could take up to 36 months, the complaint said.

According to the complaint, authorities used surveillance footage from the substations to identify one of the suspects in the attacks. Surveillance footage was also used to match a vehicle seen at one substation to a vehicle in the possession of one suspect.

The FBI also traced cellphones to determine which ones were in the vicinity of all of the substations that were damaged.

The complaint said that after their arrest, Greenwood told authorities that substations were attacked as a first step in a plan to commit a burglary.

After the power was interrupted, a break-in was conducted at a local business and money was taken from the cash register, according to the complaint. The name and location of the business were not given.

Two guns were recovered, according to the complaint — a short-barreled rifle with what the complaint said was a homemade silencer, and a short-barreled shotgun. Neither was registered, leading to a charge against Goodman of possession of an unregistered firearm.

Federal prosecutors want the two men held without bail.

“This is a crime of terrorism,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hobbs said Tuesday during a court hearing for the men, according to the Yakima Herald.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in the Justice Department news release that the attack was not an isolated case.

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“We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously,” Brown said. “The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.”

Earlier in December, two substations in North Carolina were attacked, according to WFAE-TV. Power to about 45,000 customers was lost due to the incident.

No one has been arrested in the North Carolina incident, in which guns were used to shoot at the stations to disrupt power.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.