Police make breakthrough in two-year hunt for arsonist
A TWO-year hunt for a notorious arsonist allegedly responsible for millions of dollars of damage to equipment, machinery and buildings has resulted in the arrest of a man on Saturday night.
Dale James Page, 38, of Bellbird Park was charged with 43 offences including arson, wilful damage, entering premises with intent, stealing and trespass after one of Ipswich's biggest police operations.
About 8.20pm Saturday, police responded to a report of fire in a portable toilet at a construction site on Ridgewood Rd, Brookwater.
Police dogs and the Polair helicopter searched nearby bushland where a man, a truck driver for Ipswich City Council, was arrested a short time later.
Page appeared before Ipswich Magistrates Court on Saturday and he was remanded in custody to appear again on Friday.
Police allege the charges relate to reports of serial arson and wilful damage in the Brookwater and Bellbird Park area.
Ipswich acting superintendent Dave Preston said the charges included 24 of arson to structures, one to a vehicle, 14 offences of wilful damage, two of entering premises with intent, one charge of stealing and one charge of trespass.
Superintendent Preston said investigations had been going since April 2012.
"There's been a number of offences committed over a period in the (Brookwater-Bellbird Park) area that all seem to be related to preventing developments proceeding," he said.
"There has been a number of complaints made by developers in relation to damage done to their equipment, their machinery and property, which kicked this investigation off.
It is alleged more than 20 portable toilets among other machinery and property was set alight since 2012.
"This isn't the end of the investigation.
"We have a lot more work to do yet."