The first of two Pierce County men who cut power to thousands of homes on Christmas Day last year will serve time in prison, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Jeremy Crahan pleaded guilty in September to his role in damaging substations in Puyallup, Spanaway and Graham, to short electricity in the region so he and Matthew Greenwood could steal from ATMs and other businesses.
The pair broke through perimeter fences surrounding the substations and Greenwood flipped switches on the mechanisms to turn power off, causing more than $235,000 in damage in the process, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The attacks left more than 30,000 Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power customers without electricity, sparked a fire and sowed concerns about the security of the region's electrical grid. Officials arrested and charged both men in the following days after analyzing cellphone records and surveillance footage from one of the substations.
When he pleaded guilty, Crahan said he helped plan the attacks but primarily served as a lookout, federal prosecutors said.
Chief U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo on Friday sentenced Crahan to 18 months in prison.
"These defendants launched a scheme that left thousands of people in the cold and dark in the middle of winter," Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a statement. "A scheme that was dangerous — for them and for the workers that had to make repairs to the high voltage equipment."
Greenwood pleaded guilty to his larger portion of the attacks in April.
The men planned to continue the substation attack by felling trees to force additional power outages, though they were arrested before they could execute the scheme, federal prosecutors said.