MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina believe vandalism may have caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers Saturday night.
A mass power outage in several communities beginning just after 7 p.m. Saturday “is being investigated as a criminal occurrence,” the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” the sheriff’s office said.
Moore County deputies and other law enforcement responded and were providing 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 outages affected nearly 3,000 customers in the county’s southern area, WRAL-TV reported.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said crews experienced “multiple equipment failures” at substations and the power company was “investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” WRAL reported.
Duke Energy said power was expected to be restored Sunday, but the wait could last until 10 p.m. Brooks said the company would update customers when information was available, WRAL reported.