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Teens arrested after Melbourne eatery torched for the second time

Photo: AAP

A security guard was threatened with a firearm as a restaurant went up in flames in the second arson attack on the Melbourne venue this week.

The latest incident came as four teenagers were charged by detectives who are probing fires linked to an ongoing conflict over illicit tobacco in Victoria.

The guard was threatened with a firearm during the latest arson attack at the Mill Park restaurant about 5am on Saturday. He was not hurt, Victoria Police said.

About 20 minutes later, emergency services were called to a car fire nearby and investigators are probing whether the two suspicious blazes are linked.

It came as police revealed four children were charged over an arson attack at the same Mill Park restaurant on Tuesday, in addition to a Ballarat tobacco shop fire and an aggravated burglary in Wonga Park.

Two 16-year-old girls from Mulgrave and Pakenham, a 15-year-old boy from Springvale and a 14-year-old boy from Mulgrave were charged after being arrested during raids on three homes on Friday.

The Pakenham girl was charged with two counts of criminal damage by fire, conduct endangering life and motor vehicle theft.

She was remanded in custody while the three other teens were granted bail.

Tobacco wars raging

The Springvale boy was charged with several offences including two counts of aggravated burglary, the Mulgrave boy was charged with aggravated burglary and theft and the Mulgrave girl was charged with theft of a motor vehicle.

They were charged by detectives from Taskforce Lunar, which is probing more than 40 fires linked to a conflict between warring crime syndicates over illegal tobacco profits in Victoria.

Police allege the Wonga Park burglaries happened when a white Isuzu D-Max and silver Ford Ranger were stolen between February 19 and 20.

The Ford Ranger was then used in a firebombing on the Emerald Reception Centre in Thomastown on February 22 before it was found burnt out in Bundoora, detectives said.

A 20-year-old St Albans man, who was previously on bail, faced court on Thursday after being charged over the attack.

Police allege the other ute was involved in an attempted arson at the Mill Park restaurant in the early hours of Tuesday and another arson attack on a tobacco shop in Ballarat on Wednesday.

-AAP

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