MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Governor Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday afternoon that the state, Duke Energy and Moore County are each offering monetary rewards of up to a total of $75,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the destruction of utility substations in Moore County.
The state is providing up to $25,000 while Duke Energy and Moore County are also each offering rewards up to $25,000.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, around 7 p.m., a person or multiple people attacked Duke Energy utility substations in Moore County by shooting at them, damaging the utility grid and leaving more than 45,000 homes and businesses without electricity.
State and federal law enforcement officials are working with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office to investigate this incident.
“An attack on our critical infrastructure will not be tolerated,” Cooper said. “I appreciate the coordinated efforts of law enforcement to leave no stone unturned in finding the criminals who did this, and I thank Moore County and Duke Energy for matching the state’s reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.”
Anyone having information concerning this case should contact the MCSO at (910) 947-4444 or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-CALL FBI.
At about 9 p.m. Saturday, an account under the name Emily Grace, identified in her bio as Emily Grace Rainey, posted “the power is out in Moore County and I know why.” In a second post just a few minutes later, she shared a picture of the darkened theater with the caption, “Sunrise Theater God will not be mocked.”
Around 10:45 p.m. she then went on to post that she had spoken to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Moore County Sheriff’s Office just checked in,” she said. “I welcomed them to my home. Sorry they wasted their time. I told them that God works in mysterious ways and is responsible for the outage. I used the opportunity to tell them about the immoral drag show and the blasphemies screamed by its supporters. God is chastising Moore County. I thanked them for coming and wished them a good night. Thankful for the LEOs service, as always.”
Around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, the sheriff’s office confirmed that the case was under investigation as intentional vandalism in an initial post.
During a news conference, a reporter asked Sheriff Ronnie Fields, “There was somebody on Facebook saying that she was questioned about this. Can you tell me if that’s true and where that might’ve led?”
“Well, I can say there was an individual that put some information on Facebook that was false,” Fields said. “We did, and I urge the citizens, please don’t put false information out there. It takes time for us to run that down, and, yes, we had to go and interview this young lady and have a word of prayer with her, but it turned out to be nothing.”
When the reporter followed up, asking how the sheriff’s office determined the Facebook posts were false, the sheriff answered, “Good law enforcement.”
In a statement Tuesday, Rainey said, “Whoever did this cowardly act to our community should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Also, to blame any person or group before the investigation has completed is ignored and irresponsible.”
Rainey has also claimed on her Facebook that she intends to pursue libel charges against people accusing her of involvement in the attack.
A now-deleted post shared on Facebook accused the Proud Boys, claiming that they also created fake traffic stops to target people leaving the Sunrise Theater. This allegation and reports of looting have not been confirmed by the sheriff’s office at this time.