Two Puyallup men accused of attacking four Pierce County power substations over the Christmas holiday were scheduled to appear Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on charges of conspiracy to damage energy facilities and possession of an unregistered firearm, according to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
The two suspects, Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were arrested Saturday, Dec. 31, following a fast-moving investigation by the FBI, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors will ask that both men remain detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac pending future hearings, according to the news release.
“I commend the work by the FBI to quickly identify these suspects and disrupt any future attacks on the east Pierce County power grid,” Brown said in the news release. “We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously. The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.”
Attacked were two substations in Graham and Elk Plain operated by Tacoma Power and two substations in Kapowsin and Hemlock operated by Puget Sound Energy. The damage to the Tacoma Power substations alone is estimated to be at least $3 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I am so thankful for how quickly and diligently our investigators and partners worked to bring this to a resolution,” said Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, in a written statement. “This case took many of them away from their families during the holidays but through their efforts, we have two men in custody we believe to be responsible for all four power station attacks. This demonstrates the commitment by all levels of law enforcement to protect our infrastructure and hold those accountable who put our community in danger.”
The two men were identified as possible suspects through the analysis of cellphone records, according to court records cited in the news release. Tacoma Power reportedly captured images of one suspect and the image of a pickup truck that appeared to be connected with the attack at one of the substations. A similar pickup truck was connected to the defendants, according to the news release.
When law enforcement served a search warrant on the home of the suspects, they recovered distinctive clothing pictured in the surveillance photos, according to the news release.
Agents also seized two short-barreled firearms that had not been registered as required by law, according to the news release. One of the firearms was reportedly equipped with a makeshift silencer.
Conspiracy to attack energy facilities is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The charges contained in the criminal complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI is investigating the case with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Federal Protective Service.
“Assistant United States Attorneys Will Dreher, Stephen Hobbs, and Todd Greenberg all worked around the clock over the last week to obtain search warrants and arrest warrants to assist the FBI investigation,” stated the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the news release.
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