Group tries to rob Virginia Buddhist temple; may have stolen from others

Four people tried to rob a Buddhist temple in Sterling, Virginia, on Tuesday, and that might not have been the only temple they hit.

Two men and two women went to the Wat Yarnna Rangsee Buddhist Monastery, on Glenn Drive, Tuesday afternoon, said Doi Phuenpsipsop, secretary for the temple.

One of the men tried to distract the abbot by asking about Buddhism and about a statue in the temple, while the other man sneaked off and went around to the office building, and the two women stole several keys from the abbot, Phuenpsipsop said.

They rummaged through the office but didn’t take anything, he added.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said his department was working to confirm reports that the same group had robbed Buddhist temples in Maryland and North Carolina.

Phuenpsipsop said the temple has security cameras; Chapman said his office is sharing footage with authorities in the other areas.

“I have no idea” why anyone would take from the temple, Phuenpsipsop said.

“We’re an open temple. We’re open for everybody … who wants to learn about the Buddha and want to learn about the meditation. We’ll talk to them, teach them.”

WTOP’s Alicia Abelson contributed to this report.

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