"Inside there was extensive damage to property
and there was smoke and water damage to either side of the premises."
Superintendent Cartwright said he was not
aware of anyone being in or near the building at the time of the fire.
Police established a crime scene overnight
which remained in place on Thursday morning.
At 8am, two ACT Fire & Rescue vehicles and one
police van were parked on the driveway between the Auto Drive Transmissions
store and Eglaze Australia.
An Isa Street business owner said he regularly
saw bikies "hanging around the shed" down the driveway between the
A civil dispute between the owner of the
building and the Comancheros, one of Canberra's three bikie gangs, will form
part of police enquiries.
Superintendent Cartwright said it was too
early to determine whether other bikie gangs were involved and police would look
at all possible motivations as well as how the fire was lit.
Superintendent Cartwright expressed confidence
in the ACT Policing's anti-bikie arm, which he said was doing "everything in its
powers" to target bikie-related crime.
"These people who commit these crimes, be it
gang members or any other members of the community, must understand ACT
policing take it very seriously," he said.
"They could endanger anyone. We will do
anything we can to put them before the courts."
Before 2014, the Rebels was the only known
bikie gang in the ACT.
Since joined by Comancheros and Nomads,
tensions between the rival gangs have erupted,
with shootings at Canberra homes and a a targeted
arson attack at a Tuggeranong tattoo parlour.
The federal government recently announced a national
anti-gangs squad officer will join ACT Policing from February 1,
giving the squad a presence in every Australian state and territory for the
It's expected the National Anti-Gangs Squad
liaison officer will bolster the work of Taskforce Nemesis, by sharing
information about bikie activities from the other states and territory.
the ACT government ditched its proposal to establish
anti-consorting laws, used in
NSW and Queensland to disrupt bikie and crime groups by preventing their members
from meeting or speaking.
The government cited struggles to draft laws
that satisfy police while respecting human rights.
The proposal was opposed by Greens minister
Shane Rattenbury, much of Labor's Left faction and the Human Rights Commission.
On Friday, Superintendent Cartwright
reiterated ACT Policing had a clear view on anti-consorting but "it was a matter
for the ACT government".
Police will assess CCTV footage from
businesses on Isa Street but urged anyone with information regarding Thursday's
fire to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and quote reference number
with Finbar O'Mallon