Buddhist Temples Targeted in Murfreesboro and Across Multiple States

Jan 26, 2024 at 11:07 am by WGNS News

Scroll down for video from Murfreesboro incident.

Murfreesboro, TN – UPDATE - A disturbing trend of burglaries targeting Buddhist temples has surfaced, spanning across various states, with the latest incidents occurring in Murfreesboro and Nashville.


The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating the break-in at the Wat Amphawan of America Buddhist temple along Barfield Crescent Road that took place on Saturday, January 20, 2024. Authorities say six suspects were caught on camera exiting a vehicle, possibly a Volvo SUV, and entering the temple. Once inside, they ransacked a room within the sacred space.

Rutherford County Detective David Ashburn provided details about the Murfreesboro incident, stating that the suspects, confronted by a resident, fled in a four-door SUV that again, was believed to be a Volvo. The potential driver is described as a woman with a dark complexion, and the license plate may be tinted. The Sheriff's Office is urging the public to come forward with any information regarding the suspects or the distinctive SUV. Detective Ashburn can be reached at 615-904-3022, and the public is encouraged to leave relevant details in a message.

Simultaneously, in Nashville's Berry Hill area, the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center on East Iris Drive fell victim to a similar crime. The Berry Hill Police Department is investigating a group of what could be Romanian Nationals who allegedly stole at least $500 from a collection box. Detectives in Nashville suspect three men and one woman in a red minivan, lacking a rear license plate, to be responsible for the theft.

Authorities are now connecting these incidents to a larger pattern of criminal activity orchestrated by a Romanian burglary ring. Reports indicate that this group has targeted Buddhist temples nationwide, with similar incidents under investigation in Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Washington. In North Texas, a man has also been identified as the alleged ringleader of thefts there, amounting to $38,000 from a temple in the White Settlement community, a suburb of Fort Worth, TX.

While not officially designated as hate crimes, the significance of these burglaries within the context of Buddhism is underscored. Buddhist temples, often referred to as "Wat," hold sacred spaces for worship and meditation. The break-ins not only violate the sanctity of these places but also disrupt the peace sought by followers of Buddhism.

Law enforcement agencies across multiple states are collaborating to apprehend the suspects and dismantle the burglary ring responsible for these reprehensible acts. Authorities are urging individuals with information to come forward and assist in bringing these criminals to justice. The Buddhist community, having endured similar incidents in the past, remain vigilant as investigations unfold, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding places of worship and the well-being of those who seek solace within them. Also, WGNS extracted low level audio from the (below) Ring video footage that was captured in Murfreesboro. Hear the audio segments that included an unknown subjects voice... Scroll down for video of Murfreesboro incident. 


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