The FBI has revealed the motive for attacks on four substations in Washington state that cut power for thousands on Christmas Day.  Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40 are set to appear in Tacoma federal court and are charged with possession of an unregistered short-barreled rifle and a short-barreled shotgun. The criminal complaint revealed that the motive for the attacks on the power grid was to commit a burglary at a business while power was down.

On the morning of Christmas Day, locks on fences and breakers were switched off at four different substations which caused $3 million in damage and outages for 7,500 customers. The Department of Homeland Security warned last month that the U.S power grid is vulnerable to domestic terrorism.

Greenwood stated that he and Crahan “have been planning to disrupt power to commit a burglary,” to the FBI.  A search warrant of the trailer where both men lived uncovered an illegally possessed short-barreled rifle with a homemade silencer. the FBI says cellphone records and surveillance camera footage led the arrests of Greenwood and Crahan.

Arrests have still not been made over a similar crime which knocked out power for days for an entire North Carolina county on December 3rd. Authorities say a group of people drove up to a power station and open fired causing  45,000 customers to lose power.

“We are still getting into the facts obviously, we are paying attention to what happened in North Carolina. There have been prior attacks here in the Northwest as well, not just most recently, this is a national problem, but we are still investigating this case and a lot to be determined about the facts,” Nick Brown, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, said Tuesday.

Authorities are warning of increased calls online to sabotage critical electrical infrastructure as it represents an easy target for domestic terrorists.


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