Thousands of San Jose residents lost power when PG&E transformers blew up this past December and January, and the feds are charging a 36-year-old man for doing the deed. Oh, and he was also allegedly running a meth lab.
This past December 8 and January 5, explosions at two separate San Jose PG&E transformers left thousands of South Bay residences and businesses without power. Video surveillance showed that a man who rode up on a bike had likely planted explosives at the transformers on both occasions.
In March, the FBI and San Jose police arrested 36-year-old Peter Karasev on suspicion of intentionally causing the blast, after a search of his home turned up enough explosives to merit nine separate felony counts — and P.S., that home just went on the market and sold for almost $800K, despite being a former bomb/meth lab in need of serious decontamination.
The feds are now further convinced they have their man. KTVU reports that Karasev was arraigned on federal charges of destroying energy facilities and using fire or explosives to commit a federal crime, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Department of Justice.
“The defendant in this case allegedly used explosives to try to cut off electricity to more than 1,500 San Jose businesses and residences,” U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey said in the announcement. “Damaging our region’s critical infrastructure endangers innocent victims – including our most vulnerable citizens such as the elderly and the sick – and we will not tolerate it. We will vigorously prosecute any malicious attempts to disrupt the power grid.”
And for good measure, the federal charging announcement adds that “Karasev was building and experimenting with homemade explosives, as well as manufacturing methamphetamine, in his own home.”
When Karasev was arrested in March, San Jose police released video of a man they say was him hiding a device on one of the transformers. He then rides a bicycle away, and and shortly thereafter, the transformer bursts into flames.
No one was injured in either of the blasts. But since Karasev lived with his wife and three children in that house where the bombs were made, the Santa Clara County DA’s office also charged him with child endangerment in his separate set of local charges.
Karasev remains in federal custody. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.