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Press Release

Puyallup, Washington man pleads guilty to conspiring to attack power substations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Vandalism over Christmas holiday left thousands without power

Tacoma – A 32-year-old Puyallup, Washington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Conspiracy to destroy energy facilities, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Matthew Greenwood admits in his plea agreement that he and co-defendant Jeremy Crahan, 40, vandalized four power substations and plotted to fell trees to take out power lines. Both men were arrested before the tree plan was put into action. Greenwood faces up to twenty years in prison when sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo on July 21, 2023.

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.

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.

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend the low end of the guidelines range when Greenwood is sentenced. Since his arrest, Greenwood has been in intensive drug treatment while awaiting resolution in this case.

Co-defendant Jeremy Crahan remains charged with conspiracy to attack energy facilities.

The FBI is investigating the case with assistance from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), 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 April 28, 2023

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