Officials Seek Surveillance Video After 4 Washington Substations Vandalized

Authorities in Washington state requested surveillance or other video Tuesday as they investigate what has been called deliberate damage to electrical substations.

Vandalism at four substations south and southeast of Tacoma on Christmas Day left more than 14,000 customers without power, authorities said.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said equipment was damaged at two Tacoma utility substations and two Puget Sound power substations, all of which were discovered or occurred Sunday.

The sheriff’s department has said the motive for the thefts and vandalism incidents, one of which started a fire, is unknown.

“It is unknown if there is a motive or if it was a coordinated attack on power systems,” the department said Sunday.

Sheriff’s department spokesman, Sgt. Darren Moss Jr. would not release further details about the investigation Tuesday, but said “we are working with and notifying all law enforcement partners in the region.”

He said the damage to the substations was not caused by a firearm, but he did not specify how it was caused.

The sheriff’s department asked on social media Tuesday that anyone with surveillance video at their home or business review the video.

The FBI in Seattle said it was aware of the reports but was neither confirming nor denying the existence of an investigation.

“We routinely share information with our local partners and take threats against our infrastructure very seriously. We urge anyone with information to contact law enforcement,” the FBI said in an email.

Power has been restored, authorities said.

Crews work to restore power to an electrical substation in Pierce County, Washington, on Monday.
Crews work to restore power to an electrical substation in Pierce County, Washington, on Monday.KING

tacoma power has said its substations “were deliberately targeted with physical damage.”

The four substations were in the communities of Spanaway, Graham, South Hill, and Kapowsin.

The first incident was around 5 a.m. and the latest, involving a fire caused by vandalism at the Kapowsin station, was around 7:30 p.m., the sheriff’s department said.

In early December in North Carolina, power was cut off to thousands of people after someone shot two substations, severely damaging equipment, authorities said. The FBI said it joined the investigation of those incidents, which it called “intentional damage.”