Man charged with blowing up PG&E transformers in California

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A 36-year-old man has been charged with blowing up two Pacific Gas & Electric transformers, causing blasts that knocked out power to thousands of utility customers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Peter Karasev was arrested last Wednesday after investigators used surveillance camera footage and cellphone tracking to link him to the explosions in December and January, according to the San Jose Police Department.

It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Authorities on Friday searched Karasev’s home and turned up explosive materials along with an “inactive” meth lab, police said.

No injuries were reported in the blasts on Dec. 8 and Jan. 5 that damaged two PG&E transformers, KGO-TV reported.

Karasev faces multiple charges including arson, exploding a destructive device, destroying an electrical line and possessing materials with the intent to create a destructive device, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said.

Karasev is a software engineer at a company called “Zoox” that develops self-driving cars, KGO-TV reported after covering his court appearance on Friday. He is also married and has three children, a 1-year-old, 3-year-old and 5-year-old, and has an interest in model rockets and recently set some off outside his home, the ABC affiliate reported.

Investigators also say he told them he’d been struggling due to the war between Russia and Ukraine since he has family in both countries, KGO-TV reported.

Karasev made his initial court appearance on Friday and was ordered to return April 26. He’s being held without bail.

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