A power outage in North Carolina is being investigated as a ‘criminal incident,’ authorities say



CNN

A widespread power outage affecting about 40,000 customers in North Carolina’s Moore County is being investigated as a “criminal incident” after crews found signs of potential vandalism at several locations, authorities said.

Several communities throughout the county began experiencing power outages just after 7 p.m. Saturday, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

“When utility companies began responding to the various substations, evidence was discovered that indicated intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple locations,” the sheriff’s office said.

Governor Roy Cooper on Sunday tweeted that state law enforcement would join the investigation.

“I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement about the power outages in Moore County. They are investigating and working to return electricity to those affected,” Cooper said. “The state provides support as needed.”

More than 38,000 customers were without power across the county Sunday morning, according to the Duke Energy outage map. According to poweroutage.us, about 41,000 customers had lost power in Moore County and neighboring Hoke County.

Crews experienced “multiple equipment failures” affecting substations in Moore County, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks told CNN affiliate WRAL.

“We are also investigating signs of potential vandalism related to the outages,” Brooks said.

Deputies and officers from other law enforcement agencies responded to the various locations to provide security, according to the sheriff’s office.

Moore County is located in central North Carolina, about 80 miles northwest of Fayetteville.

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