A massive power outage in North Carolina is being investigated as a “criminal occurrence,” according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
Over 40,000 people were left without power just after 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks told WRAL that crews are experiencing “multiple equipment failures” at substations in Moore County.
“We are actively investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” Brooks said.
DEVELOPING: Mass blackout after substations ‘sabotaged’ in Moore County, North Carolina#Moore l #NC
Police confirm several substations have failed as a result of individuals shooting equipment throughout the county. 38,000+ residents remain without power at this time. pic.twitter.com/SibuWGFP09
— Intel Point Alert (@IntelPointAlert) December 4, 2022
The sheriff’s office echoed Brooks’ statement.
“Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields reports that the mass power outage across the county is being investigated as a criminal occurrence,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. “Just after 7 pm on Saturday evening, December 3, 2022, several different communities across Moore County began experiencing power outages.”
The sheriff’s office continued, “as utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites.”
“Moore County Sheriff’s Deputies and various other law enforcement agencies within the county responded to the different areas and are providing further site security,” the post continued.
The Facebook post referred to the vandalism as an “act of violence.”
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted on Sunday that “I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement officials about the power outages in Moore County. They are investigating and working to return electricity to those impacted. The state is providing support as needed.”
I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement officials about the power outages in Moore County. They are investigating and working to return electricity to those impacted. The state is providing support as needed. – RC
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 4, 2022
Anyone with any information about the incident is being asked to contact the Moore County Sheriff’s Office at 910-947-2931.