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Two men were arrested for allegedly attacking four power substations in Washington state on Christmas Day as part of a plan to shut down electricity and to steal from an unnamed local business.
Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to damage energy facilities. Greenwood was also charged with possession of unregistered firearms.
“I commend the work by the FBI to quickly identify these suspects and disrupt any future attacks on the east Pierce County power grid,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown in a press release from the Department of Justice.
“We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously. In addition, the outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk,” he added.
The criminal complaint indicated that the two men were identified as potential suspects through cell phone records. An image of one of the suspects was also captured at the site of an attack in Tacoma, along with an image of a pick-up truck likely involved.
A warrant was issued, and clothing was found in the homes of the two men matching the surveillance photos. Two unregistered firearms were also seized from Greenwood’s home, including one equipped with a “make-shift” silencer.
The two men are suspects in attacks on four substations with damages estimated at a minimum $3 million.
The DOJ noted that conspiracy to attack energy facilities is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by up to 10 years.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, more than 15,000 homes were without power on Christmas Day after vandalism damaged the four substations across Washington state.
The attacks began at 2:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Christmas morning, with three incidents taking place during the morning hours and a fourth incident reported on Christmas night.
The report stated that the locks at two of the substations had been cut to gain entry. The fence was vandalized in the third incident. The method of access in the fourth incident was not mentioned.
The attacks are part of a growing number of incidents nationwide against power stations in recent months. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Puget Sound Energy, and the Cowlitz County Public Utility District confirmed their substations were attacked in November, the Seattle Times reported.
In early December, a substation attack took down power for more than 40,000 homes and businesses in Moore County, North Carolina.
The incidents have come as the Department of Homeland Security has warned of threats to the nation’s electrical infrastructure in recent years. The DHS “National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin” issued in November warned that people with personal grievances “continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland.”