Local authorities have released little information about a suspect or a motive.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said Sunday that no one had come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.
“The person who did this was targeted, not random,” Fields added, dispelling rumors that the incident was related to the Southern Pines drag show that sparked the protests.
Power crews restored power to about 7,000 customers in Moore County Sunday night. Officials at Duke Energy Corp., which owns the two substations, said it could take until Thursday to restore power to thousands of people without power.
In some areas, the damage is “irreparable,” Duke Energy CEO Jason Hollifield said.
“We are restoring customers as much as possible, but in some areas the damage is beyond repair. This leaves us with no choice but to replace large pieces of equipment, which is not an easy or quick task,” Hollifield said.
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Authorities have imposed a countywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to protect residents and businesses.
“The FBI is investigating the intentional damage to electrical facilities in Charlotte Moore County. We are in constant contact with local law enforcement agencies and private sector partners,” the agency said.
On Monday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the attack “appears to be deliberate.”
“We are working with the power companies in the local communities to address the situation affecting the electricity reaching homes in the targeted neighborhoods,” Mayorkas said. “The question is, is it a violation or something else?” Preliminary evidence suggests this was deliberate. And the investigation continues.”
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Along with a countywide curfew, residents were asked to conserve fuel as officials also opened shelters with bathrooms and showers.
The mass outage caused sewage pumps to fail and schools in the district to close.