People try to break into Hanover County Buddhist temple multiple times

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) -A Buddhist temple in Hanover County is on high alert after people tried to break into the sacred building twice.

The incidents happened last month at the Buddhist Cambodian Temple. Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says that even though these incidents are still under investigation, neither is being considered a hate crime.

The most recent attempt happened on Dec. 16. Three people went to the back of the temple and tried to get inside by rattling the handle and pounding on the door, but they were unsuccessful.

”He didn’t get any money both times,” explained Sopal Ork, a monk at the temple.

Two months before that, people dressed similarly managed to break into the building.

”When he was confronted by the monk that was inside, he turned around and ran out,” said Lieutenant James Cooper with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office believes the incidents are part of a trend around the region.

”Based on all of the information that we have received back from our partners, our law enforcement partners, there have been no acts of violence committed against the monks or anything like that, which that’s a good thing, but it appears that the motive at this point is larceny, is to steal stuff,” Cooper stated.

The incidents are why monks at the temple decided to ramp up security by installing cameras around the property. The Sheriff’s Office is urging other religious gathering places to do the same.

”We just encourage that any church, any temple, synagogue throughout the county to please contact us so we can do that security assessment for you to kind of make your location a little bit safer,” Cooper said.

If you have any information about these incidents, you’re asked to contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.