NSW Police have released dramatic CCTV of the moment a Sydney hairdressing salon went up in flames in what is believed to have been an arson attack.
The fire at the Marion Street salon in Harris Park caused $1 million of damage and four residents in upstairs units were forced to be evacuated during the incident on Tuesday, August 4 last year at 4am.
Detectives later found evidence of accelerant being used to start the salon blaze which also spread into a news agency next door.
Just three weeks later on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, a single shot was fired into an Indian restaurant about 9pm, breaking through a window and hitting a shelf inside.
More than 30 diners and staff members were inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting and, amazingly, nobody was injured.
Alongside vision of the arson attack police have also released pictures of a man they would like to speak to in connection with both incidents.
He is described as being of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance, aged in his 50s and was seen wearing a black cap and a fluorescent jacket.
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Anyone who knows who the man's identity is urged to contact police.
Commander of the Property Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman, said investigations to date suggested the two incidents could be linked to suspected extortions.
“We have received information that a number of businesses had been stood over and extorted by a group of people in the Harris Park area during the year, but that victims were reluctant to come forward,” Det Supt Chapman said.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to urge any business owner in the area to come forward and talk to us; your information could be integral to furthering this investigation and you can remain anonymous if you wish.
“The deliberate acts of crime against these two businesses cannot be tolerated.
“It is extremely fortunate that no-one was hurt in either the fire or the shooting, because the potential for loss of life or serious injury was very real.
“In the case of the fire, CCTV from the premises has shown how quickly that fire ignited and travelled through the building. Four residents upstairs were lucky to escape.”
Police are urging anyone with information about these incidents to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
News break – April 27