Melbourne: 'shock discovery of explosives'

(Musel-)Man arrested after Docklands bomb scare

  • Suspicious package found in Melbourne’s Docklands
  • Man was arrested following discovery of explosives
  • Police still investigating motive behind actions

EXPLOSIVES have been found in a car parked in a Docklands street following the arrest of a man.

The harbourside precinct went into lockdown just after 10am as about 30 uniformed officers, members from the Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit and the Bomb Response Unit probed a suspicious package located inside a white Holden commodore sedan parked on Harbour Esplanade.

Police arrested a 32-year-old Docklands man at the scene at 9.45am following a spate of minor thefts in the area during the past fortnight.

The arrest led to a routine check of the vehicle, where officers made the shock discovery of the explosives in the front passenger side, which triggered a major police operation.

The yet-to-be identified explosive materials were successfully extracted by a bomb squad robot just before midday.

Uniformed officers evacuated 12 staff members from a nearby cafe and blocked off the Harbour Esplande between Bourke and Collins Sts as crews attempted to retrieve the explosives.

Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit detective sergeant Jason Owen said there was no known motive as to why the male had possession of the explosives and its content was under examination.

“It’s certainly something we weren’t expecting, hence the reason why we closed down the Docklands,” he said.

“It’s an explosive substance; if it had have detonated it could have caused widespread damage so we err on the side of caution.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a regular occurrence.”

Det Sgt Owen said the explosives were being examined by arson chemists to ascertain its chemical make-up.

“It has all the hallmarks of an explosive substance. It’s not a device,” he said.

Det Sgt Owen defended police’s decision to shutdown the busy harbourside precinct.

“I’d rather be criticised for blocking off five city blocks than none at all and an explosion happens,” he said.

He said the vehicle was not stolen and there was no indication it had been parked in the Esplande overnight for any specific motive.

The man remains in custody this afternoon where he is assisting police with their investigation.

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