skip to main content
utility electricity power generic
Enlarge Icon

2 Puyallup men arrested for Christmas attacks on Pierce County substations

Two men from Puyallup have been arrested and charged for damaging four electric substations in Pierce County over Christmas weekend.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were arrested on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. They have been charged with conspiracy to damage energy facilities and possession of an unregistered firearm. They are expected to appear in court Tuesday. Prosecutors will request that the two men be detained at the federal detention center in SeaTac.

RELATED: String of electrical grid attacks in Pacific Northwest

“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 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 DOJ states that the investigation looked at cell phone records and video from one of the substations. That video allegedly shows a pickup truck and a man with "distinctive clothing" at one scene. Investigators seized clothing as evidence when arresting the men, along with two short-barrel firearms that were not registered, one with a homemade silencer.

The Department of Justice alleges that the two men attacked four substations over Christmas weekend, including Tacoma Power's Graham and Elk Plain substations and Puget Sound Energy's Kapowsin and Hemlock substations. The DOJ states that damage to Tacoma Power's facilities are estimated to be around $3 million. Thousands throughout the region lose electricity as a result of the attacks.

“I commend the work by the FBI to quickly identify these suspects and disrupt any future attacks on the east Pierce County power grid,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown in a statement. “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.”

Conspiracy to attack substations is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The case was led by the FBI and included the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington State Departmenf of Corrections, and the Federal Protective Service.

There has a been a trend of attacks on electrical substations across the Northwest and the United States. In early December, before the Christmas attacks, KUOW and Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the electrical grid across Washington and Oregon had been attacked at least six times by unknown individuals, sometimes using firearms to knock out power. The attacks started in mid-November.