Drunk Siberians Sentenced to Two Years Without Alcohol After They Knocked Out Electricity for Thousands During Target-Shooting Practice

Two businessmen in Russia have been barred from drinking alcohol for two years after they knocked out the power supply to tens of thousands of Siberians during a drunken shooting spree that used power poles as targets.

A judge in Russia's Republic of Yakutia found two local entrepreneurs guilty of hooliganism on Wednesday after their wild night ended in a shoot-out that caused a mass blackout in the region.

The two colleagues, aged 34 and 38, were more than tipsy on September 29 when they decided to "needlessly" venture near regional electricity poles to practice their shooting skills. The men, identified only by their initials M and A, brandished a pair of hunting rifles, firing the Baikal MR-155 and Benelli guns a total of 15 times, a court statement released on Wednesday said.

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After they had their fun, the two appeared to have gotten away without causing any damage. But their luck ran out the following week when the coming Siberian winter revealed the full extent of their gunplay. The cold damp hit the compromised row of energy poles, taking out the electricity supply to the Kobyaysky, Nyurbinsky, Suntarsky, Verkhnevilyuysky and Vilyuysky districts, which have a total population of around 90,000 people.

Special task force police officer Irina Samit, right, who is also an instructor, demonstrates how to detain a suspect as she conducts a training session with her colleague in the suburbs of Russia’s Siberian city Krasnoyarsk on March 6, 2014. Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Russian state media reported last month that around 69,000 of them were affected by the outage, which took a full day to find and repair, while the local electricity company claimed the damage amounted to more than $11,000 worth of equipment.

Police arrested the two men after inspecting the scene of the crime, which was reportedly riddled with empty bottles, cigarettes and used bullets. Tracking DNA traces, boot and tire treads, police found the men and seized the cars they are believed to have driven—a Mercedes Benz-22360S and a Toyota Hiace.

The judge gave the men a year and 10 month suspended sentence with two years' probation each, during which they are not permitted to consume any alcohol. If they violate their probation terms, they could end up serving the rest of their sentence under house arrest or in jail.