Skip to main content

2 men have now pleaded guilty to Christmas power grid attacks

Two men attacked four substations in Pierce County on Christmas Day 2022, in order to rob stores and ATMs where the power went out. Nearly one year later, they will be sentenced for the crimes after pleading guilty.

Jeremy Crahan, 40, of Puyallup, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma this week. Sentencing is slated for December. The Department of Justice says that Crahan has admitted to helping plan the attacks and was a lookout during the incidents.

Matthew Greenwood, 32, of Puyallup, pleaded guilty to the crimes in April. He is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

RELATED: Washington grid attacks flew under the radar for months

Crahan and Greenwood could face up to 20 years in prison for the grid attacks. According to a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to push for a shorter sentence for Greenwood, as he has participated in a drug treatment program since his arrest.

The plan was to knock out power at four substations in Pierce County, then rob stores and ATMs where the power went out. On Dec. 25, 2022, they cut through fencing and vandalized four substations, mainly by manipulating switches on electrical equipment:

  • Puget Sound Energy's Hemlock Substation in Puyallup, which caused 8,000 customers to lose power. Also, Puget Sound Energy's Kapowsin Substation in Graham.
  • Tacoma Power's Elk Plain substation in Spanaway and its substation in Graham. Together, these attacks caused a power outage for 7,500 customers.

Following the round of robberies, the two men began planning to do it again, this time by cutting down trees so they would fall over transmission lines, knocking out power, after which they would steal from more businesses and ATMs. Police arrested them on Jan. 3, 2023, however, before they could enact this second plan.

RELATED: FBI warned of neo-Nazi plots as attacks on Northwest grid spiked

The two men attacked the substations in Pierce County amid a spike in similar attacks across the Northwest that began over the summer of 2022. A KUOW / OPB report found (before the Christmas grid attacks) that the Northwest power grid had experienced more attacks in 2022 than in the past six years combined.

Why you can trust KUOW