$20K stolen from Buddhist temple in Silver Spring: 'Karma will catch them soon'

Two houses of worship in Montgomery County were targeted by thieves – and detectives believe the cases may be connected.

The most recent incident happened on Sunday at Wat Thai Washington, D.C., a Buddhist temple on Layhill Road in Silver Spring.

The brazen crime was captured on several angles of security footage throughout the temple's interior and exterior.

Video shows a man walking into the temple around 11 a.m. – he does not remove his shoes at the front door, making it clear he is not a member. Dozens of members are nearby, at a funeral luncheon. The man scopes out the inside, then returns with a couple of friends. The men go upstairs and rummage around in the monk's residences for about ten minutes before exiting the building.

Once again, security footage captures them – one man distracts a temple member while two other thieves walk out with a safe and valuables.

The safe contained about $20,000 in donations, according to resident monk Ruangrit Thaithae, or Monk Jack as he's known. He said he was planning to take it to the bank to deposit it the next day, Monday.

"I would like to tell them that even if the law enforcement can't catch them, the karma will," Thaithae explained. "In Buddhism, we believe in karma. Karma will catch them soon."

He also added that he hopes they make the right decisions moving forward, and the religion teaches forgiveness.

"I think they're still young, so if they stop doing these things and do the good things for their life, for their family and for people, they will be good," Thaithae said. "They still have time. They can be a good person. For the past, that's ok, but in the future, if they stop and do good things, because they are making people suffer."

The Wat Thai Temple is currently in the midst of preparing for a large Thai New Year celebration on Sunday, April 14. They are devastated by the loss of the donations. If you would like to help out, you can drop off donations at the center at 13440 Layhill Road in Silver Spring.

Further north, in Germantown, the Noor Center Mosque warned members of the Muslim community there of a similar crime that occurred on March 24th. Photos from surveillance cameras show thieves entering the mosque, damaging the place and searching for valuables.

Montgomery County Police told Fox 5 they are investigating and believe the crimes are connected.

If you know who these men are – please get in touch with investigators.