PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two men from Puyallup, Washington face up to 30 years in prison for the alleged attack of four electrical substations in Pierce County that reportedly caused more than $3 million in damages and cut power to thousands on Christmas Day.

The U.S. The Department of Justice announced that 32-year-old Matthew Greenwood and 40-year-old Jeremy Crahan were arrested on Dec. 31 after a “fast-moving” FBI investigation. The men will be formally charged in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Jan. 3, and face conspiracy and possession of an unregistered firearm charges.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said that, at the arraignment, federal prosecutors will request that the men remain in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac ahead of future court proceedings.

“I commend the work by the FBI to quickly identify these suspects and disrupt any future attacks on the east Pierce County power grid,” Brown said. “We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously.”

A Tacoma Power crew works at an electrical substation damaged by vandals early on Christmas morning, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 in Graham, Wa. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

Similar attacks on the electric grid were reported in Washington, Oregon and across the U.S. in the final weeks of 2022, including attacks on two substations in Clackamas County on Thanksgiving Day.

A federal memo obtained by NewsNation on Dec. 6 showed that the attacks were committed using hand tools, arson, firearms and metal chains, and were possibly in response to an “online call for attacks on critical infrastructure.”

“In recent attacks, criminal actors bypassed security by cutting the fence links, lighting nearby fires, shooting equipment from a distance or throwing objects over the fence and onto equipment,” the federal law enforcement memo stated. 

FILE – Workers with Randolph Electric Membership Corporation work to repair the Eastwood Substation in West End, N.C., Dec. 6, 2022. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP, File)

Brown and Special Agent Richard A. Collodi, in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said that the ensuing power outages caused by the Christmas Day attacks left many residents in the cold and pulled law enforcement officers away from their families during the holidays. The attacks reportedly also risked the lives of Washington’s more vulnerable residents.

“The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk,” Brown said.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Greenwood and Crahan, the men were identified as suspects with the use of cell phone records. One Tacoma Power station also reportedly captured images of one of the suspects, and of a pick-up truck that is believed to have been used in the attack.  A similar pick-up truck is reportedly linked to Greenwood and Crahan.  

During the investigation, law enforcement served a search warrant at the suspects’ home, where they reportedly found “distinctive” clothing matching items worn by the suspect in the substation surveillance photos. Agents also seized two unregistered short-barreled firearms, one of which was illegally equipped homemade silencer. 

The attacked Pierce County substations include the Graham and Elk Plain substations operated by Tacoma Power, and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations operated by Puget Sound Energy. The damages to the Tacoma Power substations, alone, are estimated at $3 million.

Conspiracy to attack energy facilities is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. Possession of an unregistered firearm is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

“I am so thankful for how quickly and diligently our investigators and partners worked to bring this to a resolution,” Collodi said. “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.”