Buddhist monk attacked, temple robbed in Nashville; police seeking 5 suspects

Buddhist monk attacked after Wat Lao Buddhist Temple robbed in Nashville, Tennessee

Detectives in Nashville are searching for five suspects who attacked a Buddhist monk in a caught-on-camera assault after robbing a Buddhist temple over the weekend, authorities said Wednesday.

The incident unfolded around 9 a.m. Sunday at the Wat Lao Buddhist Temple on Old Hickory Boulevard in South Nashville when the monk heard a knock on the door, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said.

When the monk cracked open the door, the five robbers forced their way inside, knocking the victim to the ground, police said. The thieves appeared to be a man and four women, one of whom was carrying a toddler during the incident.

At least two of the women held the monk on the ground while the others rifled through the temple for several minutes and grabbed cash, according to authorities. 

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One female suspect appeared to be holding a toddler.

One female suspect appeared to be holding a toddler. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

As the suspects left, police said the monk spotted a satchel slung across the body of one woman and grabbed onto it to stop them from leaving.

A Buddhist monk was attacked in Nashville, Tennessee, as he tried to stop five thieves who robbed his temple, police said.

A Buddhist monk was attacked in Nashville, Tennessee, as he tried to stop five thieves who robbed his temple, police said. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Surveillance footage from outside the temple shows the other suspects ganging up on the monk to help free their accomplice. The male suspect can be seen putting the monk in a headlock while the other women help take him down to the ground, tearing off part of the monk’s garment. 

The monk tried to hold onto a satchel slung across one suspect to prevent them from escaping.

The monk tried to hold onto a satchel slung across one suspect to prevent them from escaping. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

When the woman is finally able to break free of the monk’s grip, the suspects sprint away. The monk is seen running after them out of the frame.

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The monk tried to chase after the suspects as they fled.

The monk tried to chase after the suspects as they fled. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

The suspects fled in a silver Toyota van. No further details about the suspects were immediately released.

Police said the suspects got away in a silver Toyota van.

Police said the suspects got away in a silver Toyota van. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Police said the robbery was reported on Tuesday afternoon.

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Authorities asked anyone with information about the identities of the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.