Law enforcement is investigating several instances of tampering that have left thousands of customers without power over the last month.
Tucson Electric Power is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or indictment of suspects in the tampering cases.
Law enforcement agencies including the Tucson Police Department, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incidents, which began in mid-January. In each case, tampering with pole-mounted equipment caused power outages and created public safety hazards. The incidents include:
- An outage on Feb. 19 that affected more than 6,100 customers west of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The outage started at about 11 p.m. and lasted about 90 minutes. TEP employees found damaged equipment along a stretch of South Country Club Road north of Interstate 10.
- An outage on Feb. 7 that affected more than 7,900 customers located north of Tucson, in Marana and Oro Valley. The outage began at about 2:20 a.m. and lasted over 90 minutes. Equipment tampering was found along a stretch of North La Cholla Boulevard.
- An outage on Jan. 24 that affected more than 6,100 customers west of Davis-Monthan. The outage started at about 8 p.m. and lasted more than 30 minutes. Evidence of tampering was found near South Country Club Road and Interstate 10.
- An outage on Jan. 15 that affected more than 9,100 customers on the city’s south and west sides. The outage started at 6:10 a.m. and lasted about four minutes. TEP employees found damaged equipment near East Valencia Road and South Nogales Highway.
Each incident was caused by someone who tampered with equipment in publicly accessible areas. To help prevent future incidents, TEP and law enforcement authorities are urging anyone who sees suspicious activity near the company’s electrical facilities or finds damaged equipment to call 911.
Witnesses with information about these incidents are encouraged to contact 88-CRIME, the Pima County Attorney's anonymous tip line, at 882-7463, through 88-CRIME’s mobile app or online at 88crime.org.
TEP employees or contractors working in the field carry and are willing to display proper identification. Most TEP employees or contractors will wear shirts, safety vests and hard hats bearing the TEP logo; many also drive vehicles bearing the company’s logo. Customers can call TEP at 623-7711 to verify if employees or contractors are at work in the area.
Attempts to damage or manipulate TEP’s electrical equipment can lead to serious physical injury or death. Tampering with electrical equipment can create public safety hazards while causing costly power outages that inconvenience customers, including individuals who rely on medical equipment. Each incident of tampering could result in felony charges.