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KANAB — Garkane Energy is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot one of their substations Sunday, knocking out power to nearly all of Kane and Garfield counties.
The reward amount is unprecedented for the power company, as most rewards for vandalism incidents are around $2,500, said Garkane Energy Cooperative spokesman Neal Brown.
"We definitely want to send a message it's a serious offense. We're hoping that large of a reward will lead to an arrest," Brown said.
On Sunday, somebody went to the remote substation located between Kanab and Page, Arizona, and fired at least three rounds with a high-powered rifle into the main transformer, knocking out power to an estimated 13,000 customers in Kanab, Big Water, Orderville, Glendale, Hatch and surrounding towns in Garfield County.
"Just from the looks of it, it looked more criminal than vandalism because they knew exactly where to shoot it and they shot it multiple times in the same spot," Brown said. "For somebody to know exactly where that substation is and how to hit it exactly like he did, (it) seems like he'd have to have knowledge of that."
He said the company is not aware of any disgruntled current or former employees.
Power was knocked out for eight hours. A portable transformer was brought to the substation to restore power.
Damage to the main transformer that was shot was expected to reach $1 million and take six months to a year to fully repair, Brown said. The portable substation is now being monitored by an on-site security guard 24 hours a day, he said.
The Kane County Sheriff's Office believes part of the reason for the large reward is due to the amount of damage the vandalism caused.
Anyone with information on the incident can call the Kane County Sheriff's Office at 435-644-2349.
Because of the incident, the sheriff's office decided to introduce its new anonymous text line a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. People with information who wish to remain anonymous can text 847411 with the message KANE, then enter a space and type the message.