Romanians arrested for invasion of Buddhist Temple in Rogers

National

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Six Romanians were arrested following a break-in to a residence that also contains a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Rogers.

The six people who were arrested and their charges are listed below:

  • Marta Chicui – Accomplice to robbery, accomplice to residential burglary, criminal trespass, assault in the third degree.
  • Francisca Velcu – Accomplice to robbery, accomplice to residential burglary, criminal trespass, assault in the third degree.
  • Floarea Miclescsu – Accomplice to robbery, accomplice to residential burglary, criminal trespass, assault in the third degree.
  • Voinea Gratiani Miclescu – Robbery, residential burglary, furnishing, possessing or using prohibited articles, fleeing, possession of a controlled substance, criminal mischief, assault in the third degree, criminal trespass, no driver’s license, wrong side of road violation.
  • Claudia Velcu – Accomplice to robbery, accomplice to residential burglary, criminal trespass, assault in the third degree.
  • Narcisa Velcu – Accomplice to robbery, accomplice to residential burglary, criminal trespass, assault in the third degree.
Marta Chicui, top left, Francisca Velcu, Floarea Miclescsu,
Voinea Gratiani Miclescu, bottom left, Claudia Velcu, and Narcisa Velcu

According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, four women showed up at the temple on April 18 and asked for prayers for a family member, but were told ceremonies were only being done in Vietnamese due to COVID-19.

One of the women asked to use the restroom in the residence and the other woman attempted to distract the victim but was unsuccessful. When they were asked to leave, they became very agitated.

Two days later, five women and one man returned and broke into the home and temple by forced entry.

The victim stated she was alone and they were attempting to break the door down. Once the suspects gained entry to the kitchen area of the home, the victim hid in a room adjacent to the kitchen and heard the suspects speaking an unknown language.

Once the victim was able to leave the home safely, the intruders ran toward their vehicle. Police arrived on scene and observed a dark-colored van driving in the opposite direction.

Police followed the vehicle, with speeds up to 70 miles per hour and crossing the center line. The vehicle finally stopped near Posy Mountain Turnoff and the male driver and five females exited the vehicle.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned other Buddhist Temples across the nation have been the victims of burglaries similar to this one.

Some of the suspects in this incident have been connected to other Buddhist temple burglaries in California, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

Detectives believe that temples are targeted due to the passive nature of the occupants and their practice of accepting donations, usually in cash.

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