Vandalism at four power stations in the western US state of Washington over the weekend added to concerns of a possible nationwide campaign by neo-Nazis to stir fears and spark civil conflict.
Local police gave no information on who they suspected was behind the vandalism, which knocked out power on Christmas Day for some 14,000 in Tacoma, a port city area south of Seattle.
Tacoma Public Utilities, which owned two of the facilities targeted on Sunday, said in a statement that it was alerted by federal law enforcement in early December about threats to their grid.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s office said Sunday it was investigating but had made no arrests and did not know if it was a coordinated attack.
They said in a statement that they were aware of similar incidents elsewhere in Washington, in Oregon, and in North Carolina.
“It could be any number of reasons at this point… We have to investigate and not just jump to conclusions,” they said.
But it follows warnings by US officials that neo-Nazis who say they want to spark a race war are targeting electricity stations.
Violent extremists “have developed credible, specific plans to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2020, identifying the electric grid as a particularly attractive target given its interdependency with other infrastructure sectors,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a January intelligence memo, according to US media.