Vandals damaged a Gardner substation over the weekend, causing a power outage for about one-third of the city’s electric customers.
Bill Krawczyk, electric utility director, said someone broke into Substation 2 at Main Street and Moonlight Road around 11 p.m. on May 29 after cutting a hole in the fence surrounding the property.
The suspects then cut locks on electrical boxes and damaged relays and switch gears, resulting in about a one-hour power outage for 2,000 to 2,500 customers.
“I am assuming they were there to steal copper,” Krawczyk said.
Staff is working to establish a dollar amount on the damage.
Krawcyzk said the substation has been operating on alternate power since the break-in, and he hopes to have full operations restored by Tuesday evening.
In the meantime, Gardner police are investigating the crime.
Krawczyk said a supervisor arrived on the scene shortly after the outage was reported and heard voices on the property.
“When the supervisor arrived, he may have scared them (the vandals) off with his headlights,” he said.
Krawczyk added that the persons responsible either knew what they were doing or were acting with reckless disregard.
“They had exposed some 15,000-volt cable,” he said. “I don’t whether it was someone who knew what they were doing, and trying to de-energize the cable, or maybe some high school kids.”
Capt. Jim Moore, of the Gardner Police Department, said police want to talk to anyone who may have information about the break-in.
“We are looking for any leads we can, but at this point we have no suspects,” he said.
Moore said he believes there were at least two persons involved and that they were on foot.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Gardner Police Department at (913) 856-7312.