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Meridian man sentenced for shooting at two Idaho Power hydroelectric plants

Hells Canyon from the air
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 05, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — Randy Scott Vail, 59, of Meridian, was sentenced to five years of probation for destruction of an energy facility on June 8 and 9, 2023, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced today.

Vail shot at both the Hells Canyon Dam and the Brownlee Dam hydroelectric power stations operated by Idaho Power, causing power loss and substantial damage to them. Vail fired on the power stations in the late hours of June 8 and early hours of June 9, causing visible large plumes of sparks at the facilities.

After Vail fired on the two power stations, a sheriff's deputy encountered him on his motorcycle traveling towards Cambridge, Idaho. After a brief chase, Vail was taken into custody. During a search of Vail and his motorcycle, two rifles, bolt cutters, and both live and spent ammunition were discovered.

“The defendant’s conduct put at risk our power supply and all aspects of our lives that depend on it,” said U.S. Attorney Hurwit. “The defendant was motivated by anti-law enforcement and anti-government sentiment. Now to be clear: he was prosecuted for his illegal conduct, not his beliefs. Yet, this case shows that our way of life is threatened when people begin to believe that ideology can somehow justify violence. It never does. I am grateful for our local law enforcement partners and the FBI for their work on this case and to Idaho Power for its cooperation. We will continue to work to protect Idaho’s critical infrastructure and to hold wrongdoers accountable.”

In calls to his family members during his incarceration, Vail stated repeatedly that the government is "illegitimate" and that he wanted to "make a statement" and claimed that "we need a revolution or a civil war."

In addition to his five years of probation, Vail was ordered to pay restitution to Idaho Power in the amount of $546,982.46.