Investigators have released CCTV vision and are appealing for public information, as inquiries continue into three separate arson attacks at supplement stores across Sydney over the past two years.
Detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit established Strike Force Calinda to investigate three alleged arson attacks at supplement stores between July 2019 and November 2020, which are believed to be targeted and linked.
The incidents include –
- About 1.30am on Thursday 25 July 2019, emergency services were called to a business at Queens Street, St Marys, following reports of a fire. The blaze was extinguished by Fire and Rescue NSW and the business sustained significant damage. No injuries were reported during the incident. Police were told, two men had been seen allegedly attempting to enter the premises, before breaking through the security shutters and setting the business on fire. The pair were last seen fleeing the area on foot on Chapel Street toward East Lane. A crime scene was established, and initial inquiries were conducted by detectives from Nepean Police Area Command.
- Just after 4.10am on Saturday 14 November 2020, emergency services were called to the same business at Queens Street, St Marys, following reports of a fire. The blaze was extinguished by Fire and Rescue NSW and the business sustained significant damage. No injuries were reported during the incident. During initial inquiries, police identified that a black Audi sedan reversed into the store, ramming the security shutters, before an unknown man exited the vehicle and allegedly set the business on fire. The Audi was last seen travelling east along Debrincat Avenue heading toward the Mt Druitt area.
- About 4.30am on Wednesday 25 November 2020, emergency services were called to a business at Market Lane, Rouse Hill, following reports of a fire. The blaze was extinguished by Fire and Rescue NSW and the business sustained significant damage. No injuries were reported during the incident. Initial inquiries revealed an unknown man allegedly broke the front door with a hammer before setting the premises on fire. The man was seen leaving the area in a black Nissan QASHQAI on Market Lane.
As investigations continue, police have released CCTV from the incidents at St Marys on Saturday 14 November 2020 and Rouse Hill on Wednesday 25 November 2020.
The vision from St Marys depicts a black Audi sedan and an unknown man wearing a dark-coloured hooded-jumper, navy trackpants with red and white stripes, black and white sneakers and a face mask.
The vision from Rouse Hill depicts a black Nissan QASHQAI and an unknown man wearing black pants, a yellow hi-vis shirt, white sneakers, black gloves, a black hat and black face covering.
Officers are appealing for anyone with information about the identities of the men, or movements of the vehicles, to come forward immediately.
CCTV images of a red Mitsubishi Lancer seen in the area at the time of the Rouse Hill incident have also been released, and investigators are appealing for anyone with information about its occupants, or movements, to also come forward.
Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit Coordinator, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Puffett, urged the community to look closely at the footage as inquiries continue.
“Arson detectives have conducted extensive investigations into these three attacks, which appear to have been deliberately targeted and linked,” Det Ch Insp Puffett said.
“From our initial inquiries, it is evident that those involved have extensive knowledge of the two businesses and have gone to great lengths to ensure significant damage is sustained during each of the fires.
“In total for all three incidents, more than $300,000 damage was sustained – which is a substantial financial loss for any business owner.
“Offences of this nature are extremely concerning to police and have the potential to cause serious injury to the community or death. Anyone with information that may assist detectives, is urged to come forward,” Det Ch Insp Puffett said.
Investigations under Strike Force Calinda are continuing.
Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Calinda investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.