Two men were reportedly detained on Christmas Day for allegedly targeting four power substations in Washington state as part of a scheme to shut down the area’s power and steal from an undisclosed local business.
On Tuesday, Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were charged with conspiracy to cause harm to energy facilities. Greenwood was also charged with illegally possessing guns.
According to the criminal complaint, the two males were identified as prospective suspects based on mobile phone data.
A photograph of one of the suspects was also taken near the scene of an incident in Tacoma, as was an image of a pick-up truck that was most likely involved.
A warrant was granted, and clothes matching the CCTV photographs was discovered at the houses of the two males.
Greenwood’s residence also yielded two unlicensed weapons, one of which was fitted with a “makeshift” silencer.
The two individuals are suspected of carrying out four substation assaults worth at least $3 million in damages.
According to the DOJ, conspiracy to harm energy facilities is punished by up to 20 years in jail. Possession of an unlicensed firearm is punished by up to ten years in prison.
The assaults began at 2:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Christmas morning, with three incidences occurring throughout the morning hours and a fourth reported on Christmas night.
According to the investigation, the locks at two of the substations were cut to obtain entrance.
The fence was vandalized in the third occurrence.
The fourth incident’s method of access was not stated.
The attacks are part of an increasing series of events against power plants around the country in recent months.
A substation attack in Moore County, North Carolina, knocked down electricity to over 40,000 homes and businesses in early December.