Two charged with attacks on four Pierce County power substations
Two Puyallup men were arrested in connection to four attacks on power substations over Christmas weekend. They have been charged with conspiracy to damage energy facilities and the possession of an unregistered firearm.
U.S. Attorney Nick Brown announced Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were arrested Saturday after an FBI investigation. Prosecutors will ask that both men remain detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac pending future hearings.
The four substations that were targeted were the Graham and Elk Plain substations, operated by Tacoma Power, and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations, operated by Puget Sound Energy. The damage to the Tacoma Power substations alone is estimated to be at least $3 million.
“I commend the work by the FBI to quickly identify these suspects and disrupt any future attacks on the east Pierce County power grid,” said Brown. “We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously. The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.”
The two men were identified as possible suspects through the analysis of cell phone records, according to documents. At one of the substations, Tacoma Power captured images of one suspect and the image of a pick-up truck that appeared to be connected with the attack. A similar pick-up truck was connected to the defendants.
When law enforcement served a search warrant on the suspects’ homes, they recovered distinctive clothing pictured in the surveillance photos. Agents also seized two short-barreled firearms that were not registered. One of the firearms was equipped with a makeshift silencer.
Conspiracy to attack energy facilities is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The FBI is investigating the case with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Federal Protective Service.