Two men charged in the Christmas Day attacks on four Pierce County substations, which knocked out power for thousands, appeared in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for the first time on Tuesday following their holiday weekend arrests.
Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, both of Puyallup, each face up to 20 years on a charge of conspiracy to damage energy facilities. Greenwood faces an additional charge of possessing unregistered firearms, carrying a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, because law enforcement seized two unregistered, short-barrel guns from his residence.
"This is a crime of terrorism," assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Hobbs said in court Tuesday.
Federal and local law enforcement arrested Greenwood and Crahan on Dec. 31 and booked them into the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac following multiple days of FBI surveillance.
Chief Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura will decide during upcoming hearings whether the defendants should be held without bail pending trial at the request of federal prosecutors, who cited an anti-terrorism measure and the risk the defendants could flee or obstruct the case outside custody.
Creatura ordered federal public defenders to be assigned to represent the defendants based on their finances. Lance Hester of Tacoma-based Hester Law Group is representing Crahan because the Office of the Federal Public Defender can't represent two co-defendants. Assistant federal public defender Rebecca Fish represented Greenwood on Tuesday.
More than 15,000 Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power customers lost power early Christmas morning following attacks on substations in South Hill, Elk Plain and Graham, according to charging papers. Damages at the latter two facilities, both owned by Tacoma Power, could cost nearly $3 million and take three years to fix.
After his arrest on Saturday, Greenwood told investigators he and Crahan planned the power disruptions to aid a burglary, according to charging papers. Greenwood said they broke into a local business affected by the power outage and stole from the cash register.
The men also are suspected of damaging a Puget Sound Energy substation in Kapowsin later in the evening on Christmas, according to charging papers.
Court records for Greenwood and Crahan show multiple convictions related to fraud, theft and burglary in Pierce County but no histories of violent crime. Public records also showed a Roy address for Crahan and an eviction proceeding against Greenwood in Graham.
Both men will appear in court together on Jan. 17 after Creatura gives a pretrial detention ruling.