MOORE COUNTY, North Carolina – Over 35,000 people across North Carolina remained without power on Monday morning after vandals damaged two power substations over the weekend.
The FBI has joined the investigation as investigators try to determine a motive for the “targeted” attacks. Officials said that those responsible knocked down the gates at the substations and then opened fire on the equipment.
Currently, it is believed to have been caused by an “intentional” and “targeted” attack on substations that left around 40,000 customers in the dark Saturday night, prompting a curfew and emergency declaration.
“No motivation. No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept that they are the ones who’ve done it,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said.
Utility crews found signs of potential vandalism of equipment at different sites, including two substations that had been damaged by gunfire, according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
“The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a Sunday news conference. “We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”
Duke Energy has stated that due to the extent of the damage, it could take several days to restore power. Officials estimate the damage could cost millions of dollars to repair.
“We are looking at a pretty sophisticated repair with some fairly large equipment, and so we do want citizens of the town to be prepared that this will be a multiday restoration for most customers, extending potentially as long as Thursday,” Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said.
County officials have declared a state of emergency and put a nightly curfew in place from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Schools across the county were closed on Monday.
Shelters have also been opened and are equipped with portable bathroom and shower facilities to assist those without power.