An explosion targeted at ATMs which rocked West Perth on Australia Day may have been a copycat bombing, police said today.Police charged a 23-year-old Yangebup man last year over seven explosions targeting ATMs across the Perth metro area between July 12 and August 16.
Police do not believe the Australia Day bombing, which destroyed three ATMs at the popular Harbour Town shopping complex about 8.15pm, is linked but say it may have been inspired by the earlier crime spree.
“It is possible someone has seen that (previous bombings) and said ‘there can be money made from that’ and attempted to do it, and at this stage we know it’s failed,” Arson Squad Detective Sgt. Dave Gorton said in a press conference today.
There was a “level of sophistication” to the Harbour Town bombing, Det. Gorton said.
There was earlier speculation the bomber used the Australia Day fireworks, which ran from 8pm to 8.30pm, to camouflage the sound of the explosion.
Police are warning the public to be alert when accessing an ATM.
“It’s always a concern when explosives are detonated in a public area,” he said.
“In this instance it’s simply ... damage, no matter how well it’s planned, if someone had have walked into that particular area of Harbour Town while this was happening it could have easily turned into a manslaughter or something much worse,” he said.
“We are certainly advising the public to be aware of their surroundings when using ATMs.”
Police have released a CCTV image of a man at Harbour Town in a bid to track the culprit down.
Just after 8pm a man was seen on the path next to the City West Train Station, walking towards Harbour Town.
He entered the complex and headed towards a bank of ATMs.
About 8.15pm, there was an explosion which damaged three free-standing ATMs.
Just after the explosion, the man ran to the top floor of Harbour Town and went out the exit towards Market Street.
At about 8.20pm he was caught on camera walking towards the City West Train Station and then about 8.30pm he is observed walking on the northern side of the platform before leaving via the stairs on to Railway Parade near City West.
The man was wearing a dark hooded jacket with a motif on the front, dark track style pants with a motif on the front left leg and white shoes. He was carrying a duffel or sports type bag.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the man or incident to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Callers may remain anonymous.A suspected accomplice in the earlier bombings is still at large, police spokeswoman Susan Usher said.
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