A mass power outage affecting nearly 40,000 customers in North Carolina’s Moore County is being investigated as a “criminal occurrence” after crews found signs of potential vandalism at several locations, authorities said.
Several communities across the county began experiencing power outages just after 7 p.m. Saturday, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” the sheriff’s office said.
About 38,664 customers were without power across the county Saturday night, according to the Duke Energy outage map.
Crews were experiencing “multiple equipment failures” that are 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 added.
Moore County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from other law enforcement agencies responded to the different sites to provide security, according to the sheriff’s office.
Moore County is in central North Carolina, about 50 miles northwest of Fayetteville.