The Benton County sheriff has charged six Romanian nationals for forcing their way into a home in Rogers used as a Vietnamese Buddhist temple.

KFSM says they are believed to be part of a national effort by Romanians to steal from temples around the U.S.


The six have posted bail. Others were believed to have been involved, but have left the area. From the KFSM report:

Police say the suspects, usually women, will enter the Buddhist temples and ask to be blessed and prayed over. While the women are being prayed over, additional suspects move around from room to room, stealing money, donation boxes and jewelry.

About the Rogers incident, Lt. Shannon Jenkins says four women showed up at the temple on April 18. They 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 then asked to use the restroom. The woman then attempted to district the person inside the temple but was unsuccessful. Police say after the group was asked to leave, they became very agitated. Two days later, five women and one man returned and gained access to the temple by forced entry.

The group was arrested after police tracked them down near the scene.

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