It appears to be the latest such incident in a disturbing trend: Vandals broke into three power substations around Tacoma, Washington, on Christmas morning and damaged the equipment, reports ABC News. The vandalism initially knocked out power to 14,000 people in the western part of the state, though most people had it restored by night's end. "There's a good possibility they are related," said Sgt. Darren Moss of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, per KING 5. "We are going to be investigating to see if this was coordinated by a specific group or people, but at this time all we know is that we have burglaries where the power was purposefully knocked out."
Though authorities used the term "burglaries," nothing was taken from the facilities in Spanaway, Graham, and Puyallup. Police have no suspects or apparent leads. The incident echoes similar vandalism that occurred at power facilities in North Carolina earlier this year. And at least six substations in Washington and Oregon were attacked in November, according to the Seattle Times. All of this comes as federal officials are warning that the nation's power grid needs better protection.
The Homeland Security Department warned in January that domestic extremists have had "credible, specific plans" to attack substations and other parts of the electricity infrastructure since 2020 per the AP. And in a bulletin last month, the department reiterated that "critical infrastructure might be attacked by "lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances." (Read more power station stories.)