(NewsGlobal.com)- Investigators are narrowing their search for information as to who might be responsible for the attack on two different electric substations in North Carolina over the weekend that left nearly 50,000 people without power.
On Wednesday, investigators at the FBI and the NC State Bureau said they were looking into two threads of potential motives for the attacks. The investigators said pretty early on that the outages were caused by “intentional” and “targeted” attacks.
Responding utility crews discovered signs of vandalism of various equipment at many different sites. Two of the substations in Moore County, North Carolina, were damaged by gunfire, officials said.
During a news conference on Sunday, County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said:
“The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing. We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”
On Wednesday — the same day when nearly 45,000 businesses and homes that lost power initially had their electricity restored — officials said they were looking into extremist behavior groups as the source of the attacks.
They also announced they were offering up $75,000 in reward money for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone who was responsible for the attacks.
One thread for the possible source is online musings by extremists who encourage attacks on critical infrastructure around the country. A second thread is looking into multiple disruptions at LGBTQ+ events that have happened across the U.S. and carried out by domestic extremists.
Investigators are looking into a possible connection with a drag event that was held over the weekend at a theater in Moore County, though they also said no evidence has been found to connect the two as of yet.
Officials said recently that, over the last two years, groups who are anti-government began posting on online forums to encourage their followers to attack the nation’s critical infrastructure, which includes the power grid. They’ve gone as far as posting documents and instructions that outline the vulnerabilities of the structures, suggesting that the attackers use high-powered rifles.
No rifles have been discovered as of yet in this case, though investigators have found shell casings. Investigators haven’t named any suspects as of yet either.
In fact, the only pieces of evidence investigations have found thus far are bullets and brass shell casings that were found at the two sites and not far from them. It’s unlikely that fingerprints are still on the spent casings, because the high-powered rifle generates so much heat that it burns them away.
That being said, investigators can still enter those casings into an ATF database called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. That database can match shell casings to others that have been fired by the same gun at another crime scene, or if that gun were ever able to be recovered.
Where the casings were ultimately found at the sites also gives investigators an idea of where the attackers fired from. That could eventually lead to more clues in the case.