A Hindu temple in south Sacramento, California, was hit by thieves early Monday morning to the shock of the Indian American community.
Sacramento police said, just after 2:15 a.m., officers responded to the La Mancha Way temple to investigate a burglary report, CBS reported.
Temple priest Guru Maharaj and his wife were at home when they received an alert. “The first thing I saw was the curtains blowing and I said, ‘Oh, my God. Somebody is in the building,’ ” Maharaj’s wife told the news channel.
As footage from the temple showed, someone tried to break through three doors and a car.
Surveillance videos all over the building captured the crime. Once they got in, the two thieves raced to the altar. Eventually, the suspects made off with a donation box Maharaj said contained thousands of dollars. “They went right through to the donation box in darkness,” Maharaj said.
The footage shows the thieves lifting the box up and carrying it out behind the building. They hoisted the box, which reportedly weighed close to 100 pounds, over the fence then shoved it in a getaway car and took off.
The Sacramento Hindu temple serves hundreds each day.
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“It’s a very big hit to our community and we’re here to help people out,” Maharaj was quoted as saying. “We have this land here. We are about to build 40 rooms of homeless center so we can help people out, and if these things happen – if they continue to happen – how can we help other people?”
Police said no arrests have been made, but the incident remains under investigation. Investigators ask that anyone who may recognize the suspects or has information related to the theft call the Sacramento Police Department.
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Meanwhile, condemning the incident, the US-based advocacy organization Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) has asked the Sacramento Police to take the burglary very seriously and investigate it as a potential hate crime.
“Disturbing news from Sacramento, California where a #HinduTemple has been broken into. We ask @SacPolice to take this issue very seriously and investigate it as a potential hate crime and the violation of a sacred space. Police are asking for public help in identifying the suspects,” it posted on X.