Reward offered for info on suspect who vandalized GRDA substations

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Okla. - Investigators thank an attack on a electrical substation near Tahlequah was not a random act of vandalism, but was calculated and purposeful.

Someone fired bullets fired into the substation two weeks ago, causing $1 million in damage and potentially leaving thousands of Cherokee County homes in the dark.

"This isn't a drive-by, random act," said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault. "It's a premeditated act by someone who has knowledge of how the system works."

Chennault believes whoever fired into the substation, knew exactly what they were aiming for.

"Someone fired a rifle. They shot into it in a way that drained the oil out of the coolant system and shut the generator down," he said.

Fortunately, power crews were able to work quickly, and the damaged unit caused only minimal problems for customers.

Chennault says it could have been much worse. Investigators found even more more bullet holes in a substation in Hulbert. They believe that damage took place around the same time the Tahlequah substation was damaged.

Lake Region Electric, The Grand River Damn Authority and KAMO are offering a $20,000 reward for information in the case.

"The damage that was done here could have left people without power for quite a while," Chennault said. "This system that Lake region runs, supplies power for most of the county."

That $20,000 reward will be made available to any tipster who can provide information that leads to the arrest of a suspect. Tips should be called into the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

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