Police release CCTV in public appeal following suspicious fire in Docklands
Police hope CCTV footage showing two men fleeing a Docklands restaurant fire may lead to crucial information of identifying those responsible.
Detectives of Taskforce Lunar released the vision as part of their investigation into two suspicious fires at NewQuay Promenade restaurant Karisma, which was targeted twice in three days.
Police said the venue was first set alight on November 18 about 2.40pm after offenders smashed a window before it’s believed an accelerant was poured inside.
No one was hurt, but 60 people were evacuated from the apartments above the venue.
The second fire occurred two days later on November 20, with emergency services being called to the restaurant just after 2am.
Police allege two men again poured accelerant through the restaurant and set it ablaze.
No one was inside at the time, with residents again forced to evacuate, but the business was completely gutted, causing a damage bill worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Investigators are urging anyone with information, including the identity of the men, to come forward after releasing CCTV showing two men running from the second fire.
Police are appealing to the public in the hope to identify two men running from a restaurant fire in Docklands. Photo: Victoria Police.
Police said both men are wearing dark coloured clothing, including hooded jumpers, and carrying yellow and red jerry cans.
Victoria Police Detective Inspector Graham Banks of Taskforce Lunar, which was set up to investigate organised crime syndicates linked to illicit tobacco stores, described the incidents as “utterly reckless” and showed a “complete disregard for life or property”.
“It is only sheer luck on both these occasions that none of the people living in the apartments above this restaurant were killed or their homes completely destroyed,” he said.
“Our greatest concern is not just for that premises but the people who live above it.”
Victoria Police Detective Inspector Graham Banks.
Detective Inspector Banks said he believed both fires were linked to a series of arson attacks across Victoria involving tobacco stores.
“These groups are determined to control the market and they are the highest-level offenders,” he said during a press conference on December 5.”
“The fact that there was significant attack on this nature concerns me that there will be other attacks not just of arson but of rivals against each other.”