Police believe arsonist at large

Police believe arsonist at large

Auckland City

Police say it’s very unlikely the woman who died after being burnt in Aotea Square early yesterday morning was responsible for the earlier fires in Auckland City’s CBD overnight on July 15.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jon Moss, who’s leading the inquiry into her death and the series of 14 fires, said he believed the deceased woman was in south Auckland at the time the first fire in a vehicle in Grey’s Ave was attended by the Fire Service.

&#34We have recovered the woman’s car and within that there were shopping receipts that show she made purchases at a petrol station and a supermarket in Mangere and Manukau at 8.55pm and 9.11pm respectively,&#34 Mr Moss said.

&#34It would be stretching it to hold her responsible for any of the three early fires out of the 14 and we now believe it’s doubtful she was responsible for any of the fires discovered after she died.

&#34This, of course, strongly suggests whoever lit the bulk of the fires is at large and we’re appealing to anyone who has any information about who might be responsible to contact the Operation Fire investigation team at Auckland Central.&#34

Mr Moss said the woman’s car had been recovered in Cook St yesterday afternoon and that the keys to it had been handed in to the Auckland Central Police Station watch house sometime on the night of the 15th.

&#34I believe the circumstances around this woman’s death were a tragic and uncanny coincidence with the series of arsons we’re investigating.&#34

Efforts to have the woman’s identity officially confirmed today have been held up by circumstances beyond the control of the investigation team, but Mr Moss said he hoped to make her identity public as soon as possible.