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More Power Grid Attacks: 14,000 Lose Power In Washington After North Carolina, Oregon Stations Targeted

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Police officers performing his duties on the streets of Manhattan.

Key Facts

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department received a call just before 5:30 a.m. on Sunday reporting a burglary at a Tacoma Public Utilities substation in Graham, Washington, one of the locations servicing the county, which is located south of Seattle.

Hours later, deputies were informed a second Tacoma Public Utilities substation in Graham had been attacked, along with a Puget Sound Energy substation also located in the city.

On Sunday night, police were notified of a fourth attack on a Graham power station, which had burst into flames when crews arrived and caused more than 500 households in the area to lose power.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said they have no suspect leads yet, and are asking residents who live near the substations to check their security cameras and report any suspicious activity between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Saturday.

Police said on Facebook they are aware of other attacks on power stations in Oregon, Washington and North Carolina, adding that “we have to investigate and not just jump to conclusions.”

On November 22, the FBI sent out an internal bulletin warning of threats to electricity infrastructure by racially or ethnically motivated domestic extremists “to create civil disorder and inspire further violence,” according to CNN. The Department of Homeland Security warned in January that domestic extremists have working to develop “credible, specific plans” to attack the nation’s critical electricity infrastructure for at least two years.

Key Background
Two substations were attacked by gunfire earlier this month in Moore County, North Carolina, which caused power outages for more than 45,000 customers. Investigators said the attacks may be linked to posts in online extremist forums encouraging attacks on critical infrastructure and a wave of domestic extremists targeting LGBTQ+ events, like drag shows, law enforcement sources told CNN. Attacks on substations in Oregon and Washington were reported in late November.

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