Skip to main content
Press Release

First of two defendants sentenced to prison for Christmas Day 2022 attack on power substations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Men cut power as part of a scheme to steal from businesses and ATM machines

Tacoma – One of two Pierce County men who vandalized electrical substations as part of a burglary scheme, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, to 18 months in prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Jeremy Crahan, 40, pleaded guilty in September 2023, admitting he joined co-defendant Matthew Greenwood in a conspiracy to knock out power so they could rob ATM machines. At the sentencing hearing Chief U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo said, “Power stations are a key part of our community, and they are key infrastructure. Our reliance on this infrastructure cannot be overstated, especially in the dead of winter. . . Causing damage to key infrastructure is not tolerable.”

“These defendants launched a scheme that left thousands of people in the cold and dark in the middle of winter, A scheme that was dangerous – for them and for the workers that had to make repairs to the high voltage equipment,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. “Their motivation was greed – but all they got was a small amount of money from a restaurant cash register while doing more than $235,000 in damage.”

According to the facts in the plea agreement, Greenwood and Crahan hatched the scheme to disrupt power so they could break into ATMs and businesses and steal money. On December 25, 2022, they damaged four substations:

  • Hemlock Substation in Puyallup, Washington, owned by Puget Sound Energy. Here, the two cut through a fence and Greenwood manipulated a switch damaging equipment and cutting power for 8,000 customers.
  • Elk Plain substation in Spanaway, Washington, owned by Tacoma Power. The men cut padlocks on the gate and Greenwood manipulated breakers to damage equipment and cause an outage.
  • Graham substation in Graham, Washington, operated by Tacoma Power. The men cut through a perimeter fence and Greenwood manipulated a switch to damage equipment. This outage, combined with the Elk Plain substation outage, caused more than 7,500 customers to lose power.
  • Kapowsin Substation in Graham, Washington, operated by Puget Sound Energy. The men cut through a fence and Greenwood tampered with a switch causing sparks, flame, and a power outage.

Crahan shared in the planning and primarily served as a lookout during the attacks on the substations.

Following the December 25, 2022, substation vandalism, the men spent time looking for additional ways to cause power outages by felling trees. The goal was to cut power so that they could burglarize businesses and steal from ATMs. Law enforcement arrested them before they could put the tree plan into action.

Matthew Greenwood has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2024.

The FBI investigated the case with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Federal Protective Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated December 8, 2023

Domestic Terrorism