Police have today released CCTV and images of a man they are looking to identify as part of their investigation into a suspicious fire in Mount Clear earlier this year.
The fire occurred at a tobacco store at a shopping centre on Geelong Road shortly after 10.40pm on Saturday, 8 January.
Footage shows a man breaking into the store by smashing the glass in the bottom panel of the door and climbing in.
He then walks through the store for several minutes with a jerrycan of fuel, dousing the interior of the shop with an accelerant.
The man crawls back out the smashed door and sets fire to the premises and also sets himself alight.
It’s believed he left the area in a dark coloured vehicle.
Emergency services were subsequently called and police and firefighters attended, with the fire causing damage to the tobacco shop as well as surrounding businesses.
Despite a significant investigation over the past nine months, police are yet to determine the motive for the arson and who is responsible.
Police are today releasing CCTV footage which shows the man, who was dressed in a black hooded jumper and black pants at the time, entering the premises and lighting the fire.
The man is wearing a face covering, however a number of times during the incident it comes off and reveals his face.
Investigators are keen to speak to anyone who recognises the man or has any other information about the fire.
Footage has since been recovered from the hard drives of the store’s CCTV system, which were burnt in the fire.
Anyone who recognises the man or with further information about the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report at www.crimestoppers.com.auExternal Link
Quotes attributable to Detective Inspector Mick Phyland, Western Region:
“This was a significant fire and one that potentially could have resulted in businesses and people’s livelihoods being irreparably damaged.
“The store targeted had only been open for three months and a total of five stores were impacted.
“The fire also had the potential to kill or seriously injure someone had they been in the vicinity at the time of the incident.
“A significant investigation into this incident has been conducted over the past nine months and we’re hopeful that by releasing this footage today we’ll be in a position to progress that investigation forward.
“There is a man shown in the footage from the night that we are particularly keen to identify and it may be that this is someone who is from outside the Ballarat area but has come here specifically for this matter.
“I’d ask people to look at this footage and image and if you recognise the man, or if you have any other information about the fire, then we ask you to come forward and contact police.
“Any piece of information, no matter how small, could be critical and as always this information can be provided anonymously.”