BELLEVUE, WA – Over 15,000 Washington State residents were left in the dark on Christmas after a group of vandals carried out a “coordinated attack” on four power substations, according to Puget Sound Energy.
The attacks were carried out starting at approximately 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Christmas Sunday, with three of the stations hit in the early hours of the morning and an additional fourth station damaged later in the evening hours.
Sgt. Darren Moss of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that it is currently unknown what the motives are for the attacks – if any – but that it appeared to be a “coordinated attack” upon the area’s power supply; however, he shot down rumors that the incident was tied to terrorism.
“There’s nothing that we have found yet that says this is a terrorist attack,” Moss said. “At this point, we believe their goal was to shut down the power. The reasons for that, we don’t know yet.”
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Reports indicate that the locks on the first two substations were cut to allow the vandals to gain access; the fence on the third substation was cut open, but it is currently not known how the fourth station was accessed. All four attacks appear to have been carried out by the same group of suspects, police say.
Currently, there are no suspects and no arrests in connection to the incident have been made. This is not the first time that power stations in the Washington region have been sabotaged by unknown assailants.
In November, substations belonging to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Puget Sound Energy, and the Cowlitz County Public Utility District were also broken into and damaged in what was called a “deliberate physical attack,” although it is unknown at this time if the incidents are connected in any way with Sunday’s attack.