The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the case of widespread power outages across Moore County over the weekend. This comes after what officials say is a targeted attack on two power substations Saturday evening, plunging 40,000 homes and businesses across the region into darkness. School is closed Monday for Moore County schools.

County officials made an emergency declaration and imposed a 9pm to 5am county-wide curfew Sunday night across the 11 municipalities impacted. In a press conference Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said that it appears the attackers broke through gate and opened fire on the substations.

“Upon the arrival of deputies, extensive damage was found at the scene at substations, evidence showed that a firearm was used to disable the equipment,” said Fields. “We are constantly working with the FBI, State Bureau of Investigation and all of our other local law enforcement folks here. We are working around the clock and we will continue to do so.”

Fields said they are getting assistance from the offices of Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. Richard Hudson, and Rep. Dan Bishop. A shelter opened at the Moore County sports complex for those in emergency need of heat and power. Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst is open and operating on backup generator power.

“Folks we are living in some challenging times, times I never thought in my 40 years in law enforcement that we would be seeing and dealing with,” said Fields.

“This is a criminal act and it appears to be a willful, intentional, and malicious act,” state Sen. Tom McGinnis, R-Moore County, told media at the press conference Sunday night. “The perpetrator will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

On Twitter, there had been speculation that the attack was related to a drag show being held in Southern Pines, but Sheriff Fields told media that, so far, they have not found any evidence tying the crime to the show and said no group has stepped forward to claim responsibility.

“This is going to be millions folks,” Fields said. “Million not just to the power company, but to the citizens of Moore County, what they are losing in businesses. We are just getting over COVID, and now this and how it’s going to affect all the businesses and the restaurants, it’s going to hurt.”