LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) Thousands of homeowners in the Brooksville community of Little River were in the cold and dark after vandals sparked a power outage early Monday morning.
According to Horry County Electric Officials, approximately 4500 members served by the Brooksville Substation were without power just after 1:30 a.m. Power was restored at about 7 a.m. Around 7:30 a.m., Horry Electric said crews found the cause of the outage, citing vandalism.
Horry Electric is now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for breaking into Horry Electric Cooperative's Brooksville substation and committing vandalism. The electric company released a statement stating the incident is being aggressively investigated by Horry Electric. "Trespassing on Horry Electric property and causing damage to our system that causes a hardship for our members is not acceptable and we're pursuing this to the extent possible," says James P. "Pat" Howle, executive vice president and CEO of Horry Electric Cooperative.
According to that same release, the South Carolina Code of Laws includes a section applicable to the malicious injury to telegraph, telephone or electric utility systems and a violation is considered to be a felony.
Albert Trissett lives a block away from the substation and he says he heard what sounded like a loud boom around 1:30AM just before the power went out. Trissett seemed upset to learn it was vandalism that caused the outage, "It's scary. It's getting worse and worse, every day of our lives. About the vandalism and stealing going on, there's just too much of it."
Another neighbor in the area, Vernon Tracy, says he woke up to a pitch black home. "It was so dark. It was black, everything was black and the house was getting cold." Tracy says he had to use candles this morning as he got his son ready for school.
Officials at Horry Electric want to remind customers, that in the event of a power outage, they should call their outage reporting line at 843-369-2212 to let them know about the problem. They are also asking anyone who has information on the vandalism to the Brooksville substation, can contact them at 843-369-2211 or call 843-369-6265.