Pierce Co. substation attacker pleads guilty to intentionally causing outages

Apr 28, 2023, 1:19 PM | Updated: 1:42 pm

Both men accused of the Christmas Day attack on power substations in Pierce County have been ordered held without bail by a U.S. District Court pending a grand jury indictment. (Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Update 4/28 1:16 p.m.:

One of the men accused of causing power outages affecting thousands in Pierce County last Christmas plead guilty in court Friday.

Matthew Greenwood admits in his plea agreement that he and co-defendant Jeremy Crahan, 40, vandalized four power substations and plotted to fell trees to take out power lines.

According to the plea agreement, Greenwood and Crahan hatched the scheme to disrupt power so they could break into ATMs and businesses and steal money.

Following the initial attacks, Greenwood and Crahan reportedly planned to fell trees and destroy power lines in order to commit more robberies but were arrested before they could do so.

Since his arrest, Greenwood has been in intensive drug treatment while awaiting a resolution in this case.

Greenwood faces up to 20 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced on July 21.

Original 1/11 1:19 p.m.:

Both men accused of the Christmas Day attack on power substations in Pierce County have been ordered held without bail by a U.S. District Court pending a grand jury indictment.

40-year-old Jeremy Crahan and 32-year-old Matthew Greenwood are suspected of breaking into multiple Puget Sound Energy power substations in Pierce County on Christmas Day.

Attacks at Pierce County substations motivated by robbery, not politics

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.

Tacoma News Tribune reports that defense attorneys pushed for Crahan to be released to his parent’s home while on GPS monitoring, but Chief Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura denied the request, citing allegations from prosecutors he was planning another similar attack.

Crahan’s criminal history includes 12 felony convictions since 2005, the most recent being a 2016 conviction in a residential burglary case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg said Crahan was still under state supervision from a 2014 conviction at the time. Greenberg said Crahan also had active arrest warrants during the substation attacks.

Authorities say he carried out the acts with Greenwood, who was also denied bail one week earlier. Greenwood was sent into federal custody pending a grand jury indictment.

The Tacoma News Tribune reports federal law dictates a presumption that defendants should be held in custody without bail when charged with conspiracy to damage energy facilities because it could be defined as an act of terrorism.

According to court documents, Greenwood told detectives it was part of a plan to burglarize businesses while the power was out. Greenwood’s girlfriend told the News Tribune he was desperate for cash as the two are expecting a baby soon.

The two have been assigned federal public defenders after disclosing finances.

Crahan faces a charge of conspiracy to damage energy facilities.

Their attorneys and federal prosecutors asked to extend the deadline for a grand jury indictment to March 16 due to ongoing investigations of the attacks.

Listen to KIRO Newsradio on 97.3 FM. Stream it live here.

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