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An International Crime Group robbed A Buddhist Temple, Silver Spring, MD

Used to be one of the safe neighbors in DMV areas, in Siver Spring, Maryland a Buddhist temple was attacked by a Romanian crime group, called ‘ROMAs’ recently giving a warning sign to many religious organizations’ security and safety concerns.

Wai Thai Washington, D.C.’s monks said they were robbed of $20,000 while they were in a memorial service and it was a donation to sustain its facility.  Ruangrit Thaithae, Vice President of Wat Thai Washington, D.C. who goes by the name Monk Jack, told DC News Now, “They walked like they came to join a memorial service ceremony,” and “Like they come and they go upstairs and break into the room and they tried looking for money,” and as a result, they are $20,000 short in budget for maintaining their temple.

Every year, more than 10% of the budget is unexpected due to the crime rate soaring in the DMV areas. In Montgomery County, at least the crime rate has hiked 30% in three years row. According to the county, the County has provided $900,000 to nearly 140 organizations in the area to enhance its security and safety concerns.

Wat Tai received $9,000 from the county to install more security cameras for the facility. The County Executive, Marc Elrich shows the county’s agendas with a County’s budget for the Community Safety concern in its FY 2025 presentation.

The County budget for the year 2025, “Montgomery County is a community of diversity, inclusion, and compassion, but we are not untouched by hate and vitriol. This budget continues to support nonprofit organizations at high risk of experiencing hate crimes and provides $900,000 to enhance the security of their facilities and the safety of our residents. When the FEMA reimbursement funds arrive, I will request an additional $300,000 for this program as I noted earlier in this memo. In the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, my recommended budget replaces Federal funds with local dollars to ensure uninterrupted implementation of the Regional Preparedness Program.”

According to Yahoo.news, So far, in 2024, thieves have already burglarized five religious institutions – two Buddhist temples, two mosques, and one Hindu temple in Montgomery County, according to police. In 2023, they targeted seven similar places, with investigators making arrests in about half the cases. The ROMAs are traveling “around the United States and commit property crimes,” Lt. Suh said. “They don’t want to harm anyone. It’s not a hate crime, but obviously, it affects the public. they typically are looking for cash and jewelry.”

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