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RCSO, SBI, and FBI Investigating Vandalism at Randolph County Power Substation

On January 19th, 2023, crews work to repair the damage a power substation on Post Rd after someone fired shots at the equipment on Jan 17th, 2023. (PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL)
On January 19th, 2023, crews work to repair the damage a power substation on Post Rd after someone fired shots at the equipment on Jan 17th, 2023. (PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL)

ASHEBORO N.C. – Late yesterday, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office announced that a power substation on Post Road in Randolph County was vandalized.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, on January 17th, 2023, deputies responded to a vandalism call at a power substation on Post Road, Thomasville, in Randolph County.

In a statement EnergyUnited officials said crews “responded to an alarm that notified personnel of an equipment issue at its Pleasant Hill Substation early Tuesday morning. Crews were dispatched to assess the situation and discovered damage to the substation transformer from an apparent gunshot. The damage was quickly assessed and contained to mitigate the impact to members in the Pleasant Hill area and law enforcement officials were notified. EnergyUnited members who are served by this substation did not experience an outage as a result of the cooperative’s swift response.”

EnergyUnited reports that the area of service from the effected substation includes Trinity, Thomasville and areas of Davidson County south of Thomasville.

The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Investigators responded to the scene to investigate and collect evidence at the site.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) were also notified. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to conduct a parallel investigation.

Based on information gathered, investigators believe the incident occurred around 3:00 a.m. The investigation is ongoing.

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners, County Manager’s Office and Davidson County Sheriff’s Office were therefore contacted for emergency planning in the event of an outage in that area.

The vandalism comes at a time when power infrastructure attacks are already in the news following an attack on a substation in Moore County.

According to reporting from the North State Journal, on December 3rd, 2022, unknown suspect(s) fired multiple shots at two Duke Energy Substations in Moore County, located approximately ten miles apart in West End and Carthage, North Carolina. That attack left approximately 45,000 customers without power leading to a state of emergency being declared in Moore County.

A second attack was recorded just two days later when on Friday, Nov. 11th, a property owned by the Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative (CCEC) in the Jones County town of Maysville was damaged. More than 12,000 CCEC customers were without power for approximately two hours, according to a statement from the cooperative, according to the North State Journal.

A reward of up to $75,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the attacks on the power substations in Moore County.

Anyone with information regarding the incident in Randolph County is asked to contact the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations at 336-318-6658 or Randolph County Crime Stoppers tip line at 336-672-7463.

Anonymous tips may also be submitted via the Sheriff’s Office app or Crime Stoppers app. (Information about those apps is available on the Sheriff’s Office website.)

We are continuing to investigate reactions from power companies, law enforcement, and local, state, and federal government officials and the actions they are taking to harden the power grid in North Carolina and will continue to provide reporting when more information is available.