Chùa Đức Viên Temple thieves
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6 arrested for allegedly burglarizing Arkansas Vietnamese Buddhist temple

Six Romanian nationalists were arrested for their alleged involvement in a burglary at a home that also serves as a Vietnamese Buddhist temple. According to KATV, the incident took place on April 20th at the Chua Duc Vien Temple located on the 10000 block of Lakeside Drive in Rogers, Arkansas.

Investigators said four of the women went to the temple on April 18th to ask for prayers. The women allegedly tried to distract the monk but were unsuccessful and asked to leave, reports Religions News. Two days later, five women and one man allegedly forced their way into the temple while Hieu Nguyen was inside. Nguyen first hid then fled from the house and called authorities. Sheriff’s arrested the group who was driving off in a maroon van.

Police arrested:

  • Marts Chicui, 36, California
  • Francisca Velcu, 43, Oklahoma City,
  • Floarea Miclesu, 39, California,
  • Narcisa Velcu, 43, Oklahoma City
  • Claudia Velcu, 50, Oklahoma City

The above five suspects were charged with robbery, criminal trespassing, residential burglary, and third-degree assault

While the sixth suspect 40-year-old Vionea Gratiani Miclescu of California was charged “with residential burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, possession of a controlled substance, driving left of center, driving without a license, fleeing, robbery, furnishing or using prohibited articles, third-degree assault, and criminal trespassing.”

Authorities believe the group could be tied to a string of similar burglaries at Buddhist temples across the country. Thieves have gone to temples in groups asking for prayers and while the monks were distracted, members of the group would go through the rooms stealing money.

Police believe the temples were targeted due to the passive nature of the occupants and the acceptance of cash donations.

The six suspects posted bail and are set to appear in court in June.

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