Man arrested for blowing up PG&E transformers in San Jose, police say

Saturday, March 4, 2023
SJ man arrested for blowing up PG&E transformers, police say
A suspected arrested for possessing large amounts of explosives in his San Jose home is believed to have blown up PG&E transformers, SJPD says.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Police Department is investigating after a suspect in possession of explosive material was arrested. He's now believed to be responsible for blowing up two PG&E transformers.

The suspect has been identified as 36-year-old San Jose resident Peter Karasev who made his first court appearance on Friday.

SJPD says the investigation began with two separate incidents involving explosive devices between December and January.

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On Jan. 5, officers responded to the 6000 block of Snell Ave. on a report of a damaged transformer. A PG&E employee said an explosion occurred the night before around 2 a.m.

The employee also said a similar incident happened on Dec. 8, 202 at the 5000 block of Thornwood Dr. in which an explosion caused damage to a transformer.

Both explosions left thousands without power.

Investigators say surveillance video and cell phone pings led them to Karasev who was arrested on Wednesday.

Police also say he had an "inactive" meth lab in his home and admitted to using methamphetamine as a replacement for Adderall during the shortage.

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Additionally, the complaint details the suspect's interest in model rockets and setting some off outside his home. Investigators also say he told them he'd been having a difficult time due to the war between Russia and Ukraine since he has family in both countries.

"Related to the transformer bombings, he's charged with two counts of exploding a destructive device as well as two counts of destroying an electrical line as well as an arson charge," said Deputy District Attorney Victoria Robinson with Santa Clara County. "Related to the items found in his home, he is charged with possessing materials with the intent to create a destructive device."

Cameras were not allowed in court but ABC7 was there as the public defender's office revealed details of Karasev's life in an attempt to get him out on supervised release.

They say Karasev is a software engineer at a company called "Zoox" that develops self-driving cars and is a married father of three children, a 1-year-old, 3-year-old and 5-year-old.

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Right now the investigation at his home is still active.

As more comes out from that investigation, the district attorney says Karasev could face more charges.

He's being held without bail and is expected back in court on April 26.

PG&E released the following statement in response to Karasev's arrest:

PG&E takes seriously the protection of critical infrastructure, and we appreciate the responsive action of the SJPD.

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