Major Kyle Bryant of the Banks County Sheriff’s Office said the suspects scaled two fences and broke the lock off the pump station door.
Asked what the suspects intended to do, Bryant said that remained unclear.
“They said they were there to watch the sunrise. Obviously, that’s not what they were doing,” Bryant said.
One of the suspects had removed a fire extinguisher from its position, but it is unclear whether he planned to take it or use it, officials said.
“It could have created havoc if they’d released the fire extinguisher on the electrical controls,” noted Bryan Harbin, the city’s director of water and sewer operations. “It could have cost the city tens of thousands of dollars plus we would have lost the water system.”
Such a move might also have injured the suspects.
“There probably would have been an electrical explosion,” Harbin predicted.
Bryant said alcohol apparently did not play a role in the incident.
City officials at first feared that the incident was an attack on the water system. That no longer appears to be the case. However, there is still some possibility that federal charges could result under the Homeland Security Act.