A bumbling arsonist has been caught on camera fleeing from a café in Melbourne, Australia, after setting his own shoes on fire. CCTV from last week's Richmond café blaze shows a man pouring accelerant around chairs and tables, before dousing his own shoes as the fire ignites and surrounds him. He then throws the jerry can and runs out of view.
"The footage shows that a person is running from fire and is then doused in fire, so quite possibly this person has watched too many films as to how accelerant burns," Victoria Police Detective Senior Constable Phoebe Coulson said.
Investigators are now hunting a man with "burning or singeing" to his lower legs, she said.
The fire broke out in the café just before 2.30am on Wednesday, February 10, and the damage bill is expected to reach well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Three people sleeping above the café were also lucky to escape without injury, police said.
"I don’t think this sort of thing is funny in any way - three people and himself could have been severely injured,"
Det. Snr. Const. Coulson said.
Police have now released the CCTV from the arson attack, as well as images of a man seen in the area shortly before the fire.
They have also released photographs of a Nissan Patrol 4WD which may have been used by the arsonist.
The 4WD is described as two-toned with a black bonnet, large tyres, a bull bar and fishing rod holders.