A criminal ring is targeting Buddhist temples across North Texas. Now law enforcement in the region is reaching out to the FBI for help. NBC 5 reports that White Settlement police are working with communities and other states that have reported similar break-ins inside temples.
Buddhist temples are sacred places for members, peaceful and open to anyone and monks are available for those needing prayer. NBC 5 reports that police believe a crime ring is exploiting the temples by creating fake interest in prayer to district monks so they can steal money. Sulee Adams a member at a temple in White Settlement, told NBC 5 that she feels said it happened to her temple.
White Settlement police released surveillance video showing nine people, one man and eight women approaching the temple. Several of the women were wearing a headscarf to hide their identities. NBC 5 reports that $38,000 was stolen and that money was raised during festivities. Law enforcement is looking to see if the thieves knew temples would have money on hand because of the recent festivities.
Another incident involving these same suspects happened at an Irving Buddhist temple. A Fort Worth temple was hit on Thanksgiving and handed over surveillance video to police. The suspects had been traveling in a silver van, which was eventually abandoned in the city. NBC 5 reports that the van had been stolen in Dallas and had fake Colorado plates on it. Police believe that the suspects are not locals and they are working on releasing more information to agencies across the country in hopes of catching this criminal ring.