Arrest after ‘suspicious fire’ caught on video shows man pouring fuel
Police have arrested four men after a suspicious fire at a tobacco store near Ballarat earlier this year that saw a million dollars worth of damage done to local businesses.
The moment before the fire was captured on CCTV, with police alleging the footage shows a man smashing the store’s glass door before dousing the interior of the store with an accelerant.
He then crawled back through the smashed door and allegedly sets fire to the premises and himself, police said.
The four people arrested included a 58-year-old Chelsea man, a 41-year-old Narre Warren man, a 40-year-old Strathmore man and a 30-year-old Truganina man.
The group will now be interviewed in relation to arson, aggravated burglary and extortion offences, police say.
Detectives from Echo Taskforce are also looking at “possible connections between this incident and the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang”, police say.
However, the investigation is still ongoing, with police still searching for the man seen in the video, as well as other potential offenders.
At the time of the incident, the man was wearing a dark-coloured hooded jumper and dark-coloured pants, with a face covering that slipped off his face.
The fire that initially started at the tobacco shop then spread to five surrounding businesses, causing $1 million in damages across the stores.
Investigators thanked the public for their assistance and continued to appeal for those with information to come forward.