Group caught on camera breaking into, stealing from Buddhist temple in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A place of worship in Durham became the scene of a crime this week.

Multiple angles on surveillance cameras show three women and one man working their way into a Buddhist temple in Durham.

As soon as the monk-who lives in the Temple-pulled in the driveway, he said he knew immediately that the group did not have good intentions.

"I guessed they were robbers. So I stopped my vehicle behind and took pictures, and I called 911," Monk Bhante Yatiyana Wajirapala said.

The monk said two of the women came up to him, bowed to him and ask him to pray for their grandmother who was sick in the hospital. The women still left before police arrived.

The group made off with around $1,000 from the temple's emergency fund with them. It's a huge blow to the temple and the people who worship there.

"(The money is) not only for me. Sometimes if our people have something happen then I can spend that money. That's why I keep it," the monk said. "The people must understand that taking money from others-it is not good."

If you recognize the people in the video or have any information, call the Durham Police Department.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.