Detectives from Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit yesterday charged a man in relation to a series of car fires, which occurred in the North Bendigo area in October.
As part of their investigations, police executed a search warrant at a North Bendigo address on Friday 29 October where they seized several items including a number of fuel cans.
On Tuesday 7 December, police charged a 21-year-old North Bendigo man with six counts of criminal damage by fire.
He was remanded to face Bendigo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday 9 December.
The 21-year-old man is accused of starting the following six car fires, including four on the same night:
• On 9 October at around 12:30am, police were called to Bannister Street where the bonnet area of a blue Hyundai Elantra had allegedly been set on fire.
• On 9 October at around 1:30am, police were again called to Bannister Street where the same blue Hyundai Elantra had allegedly been set on fire, this time from the rear of the vehicle.
• On 9 October at around 3:30am, police were called to Bannister Street a third time where the engine bay of a Toyota Corolla, parked opposite the first car, had allegedly been set on fire.
• On 9 October while police were attending the third car fire in Bannister Street, officers were alerted to another car fire about 20 metres away where the engine bay of a Toyota Hilux had allegedly been set on fire at the same time.
• On 24 October at around 2:30am, police were called to Norfolk Street where the engine bay of a vehicle parked in the driveway of a residential property had allegedly been set on fire.
• On 24 October while police were attending the car fire in Norfolk Street, officers observed a glow in the distance and discovered a car in nearby Bannister Street had also allegedly been set on fire.
Fire authorities attended all six car fires and extinguished the flames before clearing each scene – all five cars were destroyed.
Quotes attributable to Detective Senior Constable Regan Oxford – Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit:
“After several weeks of concerted investigations police have charged a person in relation to these dangerous car fires, bringing justice to the car owners and the local community who have been terrified by these incidents.
“Deliberately lit fires of any kind are frightening and extremely concerning, but when a car goes up in flames it poses a huge threat to the safety of all those nearby, which in all of these cases were residents of a quiet street.
“Police have absolutely zero tolerance for those who play with fire, particularly as we draw closer to bushfire season – we take arson attacks very seriously and we will stop at nothing to catch those who threaten community safety with fire.”