Four children charged following Ballarat and Mill Park arson attacks

Detectives from Taskforce Lunar have charged four children overnight as part of their investigation into a number of incidents linked to the ongoing tobacco dispute.

With assistance from the Gang Crime Squad, the VIPER Taskforce and the Eastern and Southern Metro Regional Crime Squads, warrants were executed simultaneously at three residential addresses in Springvale, Mulgrave and Pakenham about 7am yesterday.

Two boys and two girls were arrested and charged early this morning by investigators:

• A 16-year-old Pakenham girl has been charged with two counts of criminal damage by fire, conduct endangering life, conduct endangering serious injury and theft of motor vehicle. She was remanded to appear at a children’s court at a later date

• A 15-year-old Springvale boy has been charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of handle stolen goods, car theft and possess prohibited weapon,

• A 14-year-old Mulgrave boy has been charged with aggravated burglary and theft of motor vehicle, and

• A 16-year-old Mulgrave girl has been charged with theft of motor vehicle

The three other teens were all bailed to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

The charges relate to an aggravated burglary in Wonga Park, as well as two arson attacks at a Mill Park restaurant and a tobacconist in Ballarat last week.

A white Isuzu D Max and a silver Ford Ranger were stolen during an aggravated burglary in Wonga Park between 10pm on Monday 19 and 7am on Tuesday, 20 February.

The Ford Ranger was then utilised in an arson attack at a reception centre in Thomastown on Thursday, 22 February.

It was later located burnt out in Bundoora.

A 20-year-old St Albans man was charged on Thursday in relation to that incident.

On Tuesday, 27 February about 3.40am, the Isuzu D Max was allegedly involved in an attempted arson at a Mill Park restaurant on The Link.

The D Max reverses towards the front door of the premises and a number of offenders exit the vehicle, with one reaching back in to remove a jerry can.

A witness observes the vehicle and runs towards the scene, causing the offenders to flee.

The same vehicle is then allegedly used the following day in an arson attack at a tobacconist on Sturt Street in Ballarat about 3.35am.

The store was significantly damaged during the incident.

A short time later, the vehicle was located burnt out on Eureka Street.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with information on any organised crime activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or

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