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Three recent attacks that have been carried out against the power grid in Arkansas have drawn the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who is now investigating the situation to determine whether or not the incidents are linked.
The FBI first took interest in Arkansas six weeks ago when they opened up an inquiry into a report by the utility company Entergy Arkansas that one of their high-voltage transmission lines in the Lonoke County had been brought down. The authorities described that on the 21st of August someone had removed bolts securing a the 100 foot transmission tower, attached a half inch cable to the tower, and then laid it across a nearby railway track, hoping to use a momentum of a passing train to pull the tower over.
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The next attack occurred on the 29th of September, when someone set fire to an electrical substation in the same county. Written on a control panel was the message: “YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED U.S.”
The message scrawled on a control box at the substation. (Cabot Star-Herald)
The Arkansas Business reports that the latest attack took place on Sunday, again in Lonoke County. A stolen tractor with an extendable arm upon which a circular saw blade was attached, was used to cut through a power pole, bringing down the transmission line, and actually knocking out the power to several thousand customers of First Electric Cooperatives. This was the first attack to actually disrupt the power.
The FBI has been able to report that no one has been harmed in any of the attacks, and that all have taken place in the early hours of the morning.
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Kimberly F. Brunell, a supervisory special agent with the FBI office in Little Rock, suggested that the attacks may be begin carried out by more than one person, and that they “are the investigating the possibility that these three are connected.”
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone that can help with the case, and is asking for the public to be their “eyes and ears.”
“We need anyone who saw anything in that area. Any unusual activity around the power grid or power polls. Anyone looking like they're casing the place. If you see anything on social media, we want to hear about it.”
Tonya Everhart, the vice president for marketing and communications at First Electric Cooperative, said that, “First Electric’s system stretches across 17 counties and includes more than 10,000 miles of distribution line. We request the public’s help in protecting it by reporting suspicious behaviour near a substation, power lines or other equipment.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com