MOORE COUNTY, NC (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina believe vandalism may have caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers Saturday night.
A massive blackout in several communities that began just after 7 p.m. Saturday “is being investigated as a criminal event,” the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“As utilities began responding to the various substations, evidence was discovered indicating that deliberate vandalism had occurred at multiple locations,” the sheriff’s office said.
Moore County deputies and other law enforcement officials responded and ensured security at the affected sites, the sheriff’s office said.
Utility company Duke Energy said nearly 38,000 customers were without power in Moore County, while the Randolph Electric Membership Corporation reported nearly 3,000 customers in the southern part of the county were affected by outages, WRAL-TV reported.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said crews experienced “multiple equipment failures” at substations and that the power company was “investigating signs of possible vandalism related to the power outages,” WRAL reported.
Duke Energy said power was expected to be restored on Sunday, but the wait could be as late as 10 p.m. Brooks said the company would notify customers when information became available, WRAL reported.