By Selina Ross
Police inspect the crime scene where an LPG gas cylinder exploded. (ABC News: Lucy MacDonald)
Police are investigating whether there is a link between the arrest of an outlaw motorcycle gang member and an arson attack in Hobart’s eastern suburbs.
The Rebels bikie has been charged over the theft of a campervan from City Automotive on Cambridge Road at Mornington a week ago.
Emergency services were called to several fires at the same crash repair business about 11:00pm on Wednesday.
Detective Inspector Doug Rossiter said they found 10 vehicles alight in the compound.
“The fires were quickly extinguished but not before an LPG gas cylinder exploded while emergency services were on the scene,” he said.
“It was not directly near any residents so there was no-one in the vicinity at the time, but the explosion certainly presented a risk to the attending officers.
“Thankfully, no-one was injured.”
Police are investigating whether the fires are linked to the campervan theft.
“A few hours before the fires were detected our detectives found that stolen van in the possession of a 50-year-old male who is a known member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang,” Detective Inspector Rossiter said.
“That man was arrested and taken to Bellerive police station where he was interviewed, charged and bailed.”
Police reviewing CCTV
Emergency services were called to several car fires at crash repair business. (ABC News: Lucy MacDonald)
Detectives found the van about 5:45pm and the man was released on bail about 8:30pm.
“In a couple of hours of that incident, the fires were detected,” Detective Inspector Rossiter said.
“We’re exploring the possible link between the two.”
Police are analysing CCTV footage seized from the area.
Detective Inspector Rossiter said police had spoken to the bikie and enquiries were continuing.
The damage bill at the automotive business was estimated at $100,000.
Police said they were not yet sure why that site was targeted and said they “have an open mind” about whether more than one person was involved in the arson attack.