MELBOURNE: Five more people have been arrested over a series of arson attacks that caused more than $10 million in damage to businesses across Melbourne.
The series of incidents targeted tobacco stores in Pakenham, Deer Park and Patterson Lakes over the past eight months, but ended up also damaging surrounding businesses.
Police arrested three men and two women this morning at properties in Melbourne’s north: two 20-year-old Lalor men, a 20-year-old Wollert man, a 25-year-old Craigieburn woman, and an 18-year-old Bundoora woman.
All but the 18-year-old have been hit with arson charges, among other alleged offences.
The first alleged arson attack occurred at a tobacco store inside a shopping centre on Main Street, Pakenham in Melbourne’s south-east on August 3, 2021.
CCTV footage of the second attack showed a balaclava-clad man using a sledgehammer to smash through the store’s metal roller door before another man poured accelerant in the entranceway.
The balaclava-clad man could then be seen starting a fire, which led to an explosion of flames.
The third occurred this year on a shopping centre on Thompsons Road, Patterson Lakes on February 9.
Two of the alleged offenders appeared to catch on fire during the incidents, with police previously saying they were expected to have sustained significant injuries.