A group of people who stole whole boxes of Buddhist temples while pretending to offer Buddhist offerings to temples across the country were arrested.

The Gyeongnam Jinju Police Station announced yesterday (5th) that they had arrested three people, including a man in his 30s, on charges of habitually stealing Buddhist boxes by entering the temple.

These seniors and juniors are accused of stealing an entire Buddhist box with 4 million won in cash from the Daeungjeon of a temple in Gyeongsangnam-do around 2:45 a.m. on the 22nd of last month.

According to the police, they visited up to 11 temples a day, targeting temples that were easily accessible to outsiders and poorly managed.

At dawn as well as in broad daylight, one of them looked around to find the temple pretending to offer Buddhist offerings, while the other two stole the cash from the box or took the entire box.

As a result of the investigation, it was found that they toured 31 temples nationwide from the 17th to the 30th of last month and stole 18 million won in cash.

Their tails were caught thanks to a report from a Gyeongsangnam-do temple official that the entire Buddhist box was stolen.

A temple official said, "I didn't want to report it if only money was stolen, but I took the whole box and reported it."

Although more than 50 temples were known to be on the list of their crimes, only one of them actually reported theft to the police. If they took out only the money from the unburned box, the temple didn't even know that it was damaged.

During the police investigation, they are known to have stated that they "committed the crime to raise living expenses." The police believe that the amount of damage may increase in the future, so they visit the temple on the list of crimes and check whether there is any damage.

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(Photo = Yonhap News)