PINEHURST— Power remains out for over 35,000 Moore County residents following a suspected criminal attack on Duke Energy substations on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields announced at a Sunday press conference that multiple law enforcement agencies including the SBI and FBI were investigating the acts. Fields indicated that law enforcement has not determined a motivation. He said someone pulled up and “opened fire on the substation, the same thing with the other one,” at the press conference.
“No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept that they’re the ones that done it,” Fields said, adding “we’re looking at all avenues. It wasn’t random.”
Duke Energy in a statement on their website said vandalism caused significant damage to components of the electric grid and some areas need replacement equipment due to irreparable damage.
“We’re pursuing multiple paths for restoration in efforts to bring service back on as quickly as possible; however, due to the nature of the damage incurred many customers should prepare for an outage that could extend to as late as Thu, Dec. 8,” the statement reads.
Moore County Schools will be closed Monday and a curfew is in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Due to below freezing temperatures, a shelter has been opened in Carthage, the county seat.
State and local officials have weighed in and offered support for the county.
“An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, intentional crime and I expect state and federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible to justice,” Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Twitter Sunday.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who moved to Southern Pines earlier this year, said, “Last night, unknown individuals vandalized at least two substations in Moore County with criminal intent. Motive for this crime remains unknown. Many Moore County residents remain without power. I want to thank Sheriff Ronnie Fields and all local law enforcement as well as the SBI and FBI for their quick action to respond to the incident. I have also been in contact with Duke Energy and know they are working on all options to restore power as quickly as possible.”