Three substation facilities were destroyed on Christmas morning in Pierce County, Washington, cutting power to more than 14,000 customers, officials said.
According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, which includes Tacoma, two of the break-ins occurred at the Tacoma Utilities substation and the third at the Puget Sound energy station.
The suspect was not in custody, according to the sheriff’s office.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said, “It’s unclear whether there was a motive or if it was a coordinated attack on the power system.
Tacoma Public Utilities said about 2,000 customers were initially out of power and crews were working to restore power, and later updated that power was restored to all but about 900 customers.
“Unfortunately, intentional damage today has a more serious impact on systems in some places than initial testing indicated,” the company said. “Some customers are expected to be back on track tomorrow around 8am. Please be patient as we react to this deliberate sabotage of our systems.”
“We know this incident has affected many people’s holiday celebrations and our crew is working as quickly as possible to restore power safely to all customers. We are working on it,” he added.
The Department of Homeland Security said last month that critical U.S. infrastructure could be targeted for attacks by “single criminals or small groups motivated by various ideological beliefs or personal grievances.” We have issued a warning bulletin.
Earlier this month, attacks on two substations in North Carolina cut power to tens of thousands of customers and prompted local authorities to declare a state of emergency.
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