ST. GEORGE – An Escalante man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for shooting and damaging a Garkane Energy Cooperative substation.
The incident knocked out power to thousands of Kane and Garfield county residents and businesses for several hours Sept. 25, 2016.
A few days later, Garkane announced a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever was responsible for the incident.
“Power was knocked out to the majority of Kane and Garfield counties, affecting residents and businesses in the counties,” officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah said in a statement. “The power outage lasted about eight hours.”
In an indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Central Division, Stephen Plato McRae, 57, of Escalante, was charged with destruction of an energy facility, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and possession of a controlled substance.
McRae is charged with “knowingly and willfully” damaging Garkane’s Buckskin substation and causing damage in excess of $100,000.
The indictment was announced Wednesday by U.S. Attorney John W. Huber, FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Barnhart and Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover in a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
McRae was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of marijuana in a federal indictment Nov. 13. He has been in custody since his arrest on that charge.
McRae was found in possession of a Springfield Armory, 30-40 rifle, Model 1898 rifle and associated ammunition, according to the Department of Justice. The rifle was found in the basement of a motel on Main Street in Escalante, court documents state.
If convicted, McRae could get up to 20 years in federal prison for the destruction of an energy facility, according to the Department of Justice.
The firearms charge carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years, and McRae could receive two years for possession of a controlled substance. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
McRae’s initial appearance in federal court has not yet been scheduled.
The case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management, who are participating as members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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