New leads in Toowoomba mosque arson attack
NEW information given to police investigating two unsolved arson attacks at the Toowoomba mosque in 2015 suggest the same person is responsible for the crimes.
Toowoomba detectives have today renewed an appeal for the public to come forward with any information relating to the suspicious fires at the Garden City Mosque.
Police have revealed for the first time they believe the attacks are linked.
Security camera footage of the first attack on January 23, 2015, shows a hooded figure - believed to be a man - gain access to the West St building.
At precisely 9.48pm, flames can be seen igniting inside before the figure calmly leaves the building, closing the door behind them.
The footage then cuts to another camera which recorded the person walk through the adjacent car park towards West St, opposite the fuel station.
Police revealed the fire was lit in a plastic bin which caused damage to the floor of the building.
The second incident, on April 17 that year, caused far more extensive damage when a window was smashed and a fire lit inside.
The mosque was gutted and remained badly damaged until a rebuild began earlier this year.
Now, new information has been received which has led investigators to believe the person of interest in both offences is still living in the Toowoomba area.
"As the two fires are believed to be linked, it is understood the person of interest is believed to be of similar description and acting alone," police said.
"Detectives have again released CCTV footage of a male wanted in connection to the arson on Friday, January 23, 2015.
"Police encourage members of the public to come forward with information as to the identity of this male."
A possible $25,000 reward remains on offer under the Arson Reward Scheme or anyone who supplies information which leads to the conviction of the person responsible for the fires.
The arson attacks drew widespread condemnation and united Toowoomba in its outrage against the crimes.
Then Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller led the condemnation after the second attack, describing it as "shocking" and urged the community to report information.
"It is outrageous and we want people to come forward so that police can get the names of people so they can be investigated and, if necessary, they are charged," Ms Miller told national media in Toowoomba after the second attack.
Phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 with information.