An attack that reportedly involved a number of different electrical substations out in North Carolina has resulted in close to 40,000 people losing power in Monroe County.
Officials in the area are investigating the incident that started late Saturday evening, in an area almost 70 miles to the southwest of Raleigh, as an intentional criminal act.
“Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields reports that the mass power outage across the county is being investigated as a criminal occurrence,” explained the Moore County Sheriff’s Department via a post to social media.
“Just after 7 pm on Saturday evening, December 3, 2022, several different communities across Moore County began experiencing power outages,” it stated. “As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites.”
To total number of people that went without power included roughly 60% of the county’s population, forcing the state officials to declare a state of emergency. The county has also set up a curfew of 9 p.m. Eastern Time, while all schools were closed on Monday.
A press conference held this past Sunday evening highlighted that guns were utilized to shoot and damage important equipment at a pair of substations.
“The NC Department of Public Safety is working with our local and federal law enforcement partners and will provide the appropriate state resources needed to assist in this investigation,” stated Eddie Buffaloe, Jr., the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, during a press conference, as reported by WSOC-TV.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) post to social media about the issue in the wake of speaking with the leadership of the area’s power company, Duke Energy.
“I appreciate the swift response from local and state emergency responders in Moore County to protect public safety and work with Duke Energy to restore power,” he stated.
I appreciate the swift response from local and state emergency responders in Moore County to protect public safety and work with Duke Energy to restore power. (1/3)
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 4, 2022
“An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, intentional crime and I expect state and federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible to justice,” stated Cooper. “Moore County has strong, vibrant communities and the state will continue to provide transportation and public safety assistance.”
Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy, stated via a release given to KATV-TV that the company spotted “multiple equipment failures” at a pair of substations. The power company was “investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” explained the release.
As a politician whos district includes Monroe County, US Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) put forth his own statement late Sunday evening about the attacks.
“Last night, unknown individuals vandalized at least two substations in Moore County with criminal intent,” he stated. “Motive for this crime remains unknown. Many Moore County residents remain without power. I want to thank Sheriff Ronnie Fields and all local law enforcement as well as the SBI and FBI for their quick action to respond to the incident. I have also been in contact with Duke Energy and know they are working on all options to restore power as quickly as possible.”
The statement from the congressman explained that the Southern Pines Police Department had officially opened its community room to the public for the purpose of charging various electronic devices.