A home in northwest Arkansas, which also serves as a Vietnamese Buddhist temple, was broken into by a group of burglars.
- Four of the female suspects visiting the temple asked for prayers in an attempt to distract the victim on April 18 but were unsuccessful. Two days later, six suspects returned and forced their way into the temple.
- Marta Chicui, 36, of California, Francisca Velcu, 43, of Oklahoma City, Floarea Miclescu, 39, of California, Narcisa Velcu, 43, of Oklahoma City, and Claudia Velcu, 50, of Oklahoma City have been charged with criminal trespassing, robbery, residential burglary and third-degree assault.
- Voinea Gratiani Miclescu, 40, 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.
- A guest at the house, identified as Hieu Nguyen, was able to hide at the time and call the police, reported the Washington Post.
- Police caught up with the suspects as they were fleeing the scene near Posy Mountain Turnoff, according to KNWA.
More details: The Benton County Sheriff’s Office revealed additional individuals could have been involved. Burglars reportedly target these sites for their occupants’ passive nature and the cash donations that they accept.
- Investigators found that some of the suspects in the recent case were connected to temple burglaries in other states such as California, Arizona and Oklahoma.
- A Lao Buddhist temple in Phoenix was similarly attacked by a group of 10 to 12 women who also distracted victims with prayer requests, NextShark reported.
- The suspects, who were identified as Romanian nationals, have been released after posting bond. They are set to appear in court on June 7.
Those with information about the crimes are asked to call Detective Susan Matthews at 479-271-1008 ext. 3639.
Featured Image from Benton County Sheriff’s Office via KARK