A federal warrant was issued Thursday for the arrest of a single suspect identified as being involved in at least one of two incidents of tampering with Western Grid transmission tower footings about 150 miles apart in southeast Oregon and northern California last Monday.

A 62-year-old Spokane, WA resident, Michael Devlyn Poulin, was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the suspect. Lumber company workers at the second incident in Northern California chased a vehicle fleeing the scene and got pictures of the license that has led authorities to Poulin as the prime suspect. If caught and convicted, Poulin could face 20 years in federal prison.

According to a report in last Thursday’s Los Angeles Times, all of the bolts had been removed from the base of a 500 kV line tower in southeastern Oregon and half were removed from the 115 kV line tower in California that is operated by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). Despite this, a WAPA spokesperson in Colorado indicated it was extremely unlikely that either of the towers would topple, even with all the footing bolts removed.

Officials were still unsure of the suspect’s motive, saying it could be the work of a disgruntled power industry worker, an environmental extremist or just a “kook,” according to a local law enforcement official in Anderson, CA, near the 115-kV line incident.

The FBI issued a bulletin for police throughout Oregon and California to be on the lookout for a man driving a gray Toyota pickup outfitted with a white camper shell, with a small orange Honda motorcycle strapped on its back above the rear bumper.

Even in the unlikely event that one or both of the towers collapsed, WAPA’s spokesperson, LaVerne Kyriss, said no widespread blackout would occur because of safeguards that the Western Grid has put in place since the summer of 1996’s cascading blackout that struck from Idaho throughout the West, the Los Angeles Times reported. A 40 or 50 mph wind possibly could topple a tower, though that’s “not a strong possibility,” Kyriss said.

Law enforcement authorities were still trying to determine Wednesday if the acts constituted sabotage. The FBI refused to speculate, according to the Times. The local Anderson police chief said he thought it was “someone with an ax to grind.”

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