Two Wyndham tobacco attacks investigated


Cade Lucas

Police are investigating attacks on businesses in Werribee and Hoppers Crossing on Tuesday morning.

Emergency services were called to a tobacconist on Tarneit Road, Werribee, just after 4am on June 11, where a ramming and attempted arson attack had occurred.

A black SUV had been reversed into the front security roller shutter of the tobacconist, before the driver fled on foot, leaving the vehicle at the scene, police said.

An hour later, a shisha supplies business on Costas Drive, Hoppers Crossing, was set on fire.

A passer-by managed to extinguish the fire before emergency services arrived.

No one was inside either building at the time of the attacks and no one was injured.

Investigators are treating both incidents as targeted attacks, but said it’s too early to determine if they are linked.

There have been more than 60 arson attacks on tobacco stores, supply outlets, restaurants and reception centres in Victoria since March last year, with police making 65 arrests.

Among the attacks was another fire in Hoppers Crossing in August last year, where a tobacconist on Hogans Road was destroyed.

Shortly afterwards, Victoria Police established Taskforce Lunar to target organised crime groups involved in the illicit tobacco trade in Victoria.

Comprised of a range of specialist investigators, Taskforce Lunar draws on resources from the Gang Crime Squad, Arson and Explosives Squad, Echo Taskforce, VIPER Taskforce, Criminal Proceeds Squad and Financial Crime Squad.

The taskforce also works closely with regional police, as well as a range of external agencies such as the ABF, Australian criminal Intelligence Commission, AFP and Australian Taxation office.

Investigations into both the Werribee and Hoppers Crossing attacks are ongoing.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.