23 January 2023
RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The FBI is looking for any information that could help find whoever shot into another North Carolina electrical substation.
Officials with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office got a call around 10:40 a.m. reporting the damage to the substation at 6968 Post Road.
The FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations were also told about the incident. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force responded to conduct a parallel investigation.
“The FBI is working with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office to investigate after gunfire damaged an EnergyUnited substation on January 17, 2023,” the FBI told FOX8 in a statement. “At this time, it is too early in the investigation to determine whether this case is connected to the ongoing investigation in Moore County.”
Investigators recovered evidence from the scene and canvassed the surrounding areas to gather additional information. Based on the information gathered, investigators believe the incident happened around 3 a.m.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department had recently increased patrols at all substations after a similar attack in Moore County.
Substations under attack
In Nov. 2022, a Carteret-Craven Electrical Cooperative substation was vandalized near Maysville and 12,000 people lost power for a few hours while crews worked to repair it.
On Dec. 3, 2022, over 40,000 customers in Moore County lost power for days after two Duke Energy substations were hit by gunfire.
While law enforcement has not identified an ideological tie to these attacks, a neo-Nazi banner flown over U.S. 1 in Moore County appeared to reference the attacks.
The banner included the language “bring it all down” with a link to a Telegram channel for the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Resistant Front. The channel includes graphics with the same language imposed over a graphic of a power substation. Both this and the second banner included the number 1488, a known white supremacist symbol.
North Carolina men were among at least two groups of men with neo-Nazi ties awaiting sentencing in connection to plans to attack power substations. The plots were uncovered in 2020 and 2021 and covered numerous states.
Three men pleaded guilty to a 2021 plot in February of 2022, and several men were indicted by the Eastern District of North Carolina in a 2020 plot. Both of these cases involved groups planning attacks on substations in different states, primarily using high-powered automatic weapons.