Suspects asked for blessing before stealing safe from Buddhist monastery: York regional police

Several suspects are being sought in connection to a series of thefts at places of worship in Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville. In one instance, York regional police said two suspects asked for a blessing before stealing a safe containing cash from a Buddhist Monastery in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The string of brazen thefts began on Friday, July 21 at around 11:20 a.m. when two male suspects forced their way into a residence associated with the Buddhist Prajna Temple located on Wales Avenue in Markham.

The suspects allegedly stole a large quantity of Canadian and American cash and fled in a dark-coloured SUV driven by a third suspect.

Police say the group then twice robbed another residence being used as a Buddhist Temple on George Street near Parkway Avenue in Markham, on August 6 and August 19.

Those thefts both took place sometime between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with a large amount of cash and a safe stolen.

In the next instance, on August 13 just after noon, police say the group failed in their bid to rob a Buddhist Temple on Hidden Forest Drive in Whitchurch-Stouffville after they were scared off by people inside and fled empty-handed before police arrived.

On Sunday, August 20 at around 4 p.m., five male suspects attended the Buddhist Monastery on Kennedy Road in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

“Two suspects asked for a blessing before they stole a safe containing a large amount of cash,” police said in a release.

“The safe was placed into a white Hyundai Elantra before the suspects fled the area in the same vehicle.”

The most recent incident took place last Sunday, September 3, at around 10 a.m. when police say four male suspects were seen wandering around the property of the Cham Sham Temple located on Bayview Avenue in Markham.

“The suspects forced their way into a private area belonging to staff who reside at the temple. They then stole a large amount of Canadian and Chinese money, along with a cell phone, before leaving the area in a silver sedan believed to be a Toyota Corolla,” investigators explained.

The suspects are described as

  • Suspect #1: Male, 30 to 40 years old, six foot tall and 220 pounds with a medium build and short black hair.
  • Suspect #2: Male, 30 to 40 years old, five foot ten with a thin build, black hair and partial beard.
  • Suspect #3: Male, 30 to 40 years old, approximately 6 foot tall and 200 pounds with a medium build and short black hair.
  • Suspect #4: Male, 30 to 40 years old, five foot ten and 220 pounds with a medium build.


Police say the suspects are associated with three vehicles — a dark-coloured SUV, a white Hyundai Elantra and possibly a silver four-door Toyota Corolla, model years between 2014 and 2016.

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