MOORE COUNTY, N.C. — As of 4 p.m. on Monday, about 38,000 people were still without power across Moore County. 

Duke Energy crews have been working hard since two power substations were shot at and damaged Saturday night, causing mass power outages across the county. 

A sign on a shop in Southern Pines.

It is peak holiday season, yet in the heart of Southern Pines,  the streets were dark and empty. Some signs hanging in the windows of businesses stating that they will reopen when power is restored. 

Off of U.S. 1 in the small town of Vass, generators are the only reason why lights were on at Ed’s Gun Shop. 

When power went out days ago, owner Ed Nicely knew what he needed to do.

“I decided to come into the store. ,” he said. “Three of us came in and spent the night, and stayed here to make sure that everything was ok.”

As the FBI joins state and local investigators in working to find out who they said deliberately attacked substations in Enid and Carthage, Nicely has been camping out in his store each night.

He even brought his grandkids along for a few hours, as he and a few employees kept watch over the rows and rows of guns and ammunition.

“Hopefully we will never be broken into, but we’re just trying to protect our stuff,” said Nicely. “We’re just not taking any chances.”

He is grateful that he hasn’t heard any reports of looting so far, but he is now concerned with the impact the power outage is having on what should have been a big shopping week. 

“Right now, until past Christmas, is usually very busy for us. This is going to hurt, but I’m just trying to keep my employees working and help the community,” said Nicely. 

Nicely plans to stay in the shop each night until the power is restored.