The FBI is investigating possible 'targeted' attacks on North Carolina power grid that left tens of thousands in the dark
- Attacks on two North Carolina electrical stations left thousands without power, authorities said.
- Law enforcement is investigating the incidents as a criminal occurrence after evidence of vandalism.
- The Department of Homeland Security warned just last week of such attacks.
The FBI is joining local and state authorities in investigating purported "intentional attacks" on two electrical substations in North Carolina's power grid that left approximately 45,000 people without power and heat over the weekend.
Sixty percent of North Carolina's Moore County, located about 70 miles southwest of Raleigh, lost power on Saturday night, officials said during a press conference. As of Monday, Duke Energy said it had restored power to about 7,000 customers, but an additional 38,000 remained in the dark and likely will until Thursday.
The Moore County Sheriff's Office said in a Saturday Facebook post that authorities are investigating the incident as a criminal occurrence after evidence indicated that "intentional" vandalism was apparent at multiple sites, including two substations that were damaged by gunfire.
Authorities have not provided any motive for the attack, nor made any arrests, but Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said Sunday that the attack "wasn't random," per The Washington Post. Fields declined to answer reporter questions about whether security cameras caught footage of the vandalism.
Law enforcement said the outages began around 7 p.m. on Saturday. The two substations that were hit are about a 20-minute drive from one another, Maj. Andy Conway of the Moore County Sheriff's Office told The Post, in the towns of Carthage and West End.
A spokesperson for Duke Energy told the outlet that multiple pieces of equipment were damaged at both locations, including a gate at one substation.
Experts have long warned about the vulnerability of the nation's electricity infrastructure , saying the the US power grid could be a prime target for domestic attacks.
CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller said these types of attacks have been a national concern for years, given the decentralized nature of the American electrical grid.
"The challenge is most of these places are outdoors, most are in remote areas and most of them are available for attack from a long distance," Miller said on "CNN This Morning."
The Saturday attacks come just one week after the Department of Homeland Security renewed a January bulletin warning that the US electric power infrastructure is an "attractive target" for domestic extremists.
Miller suggested on CNN that the perpetrator's aim may have been to cause chaos, which the Saturday outage has certainly done: Moore County declared a state of emergency in response to the attacks; issued a 9 p.m. curfew; and kept schools closed on Monday.Read the original article on Insider