Police arrest suspected ringleader in string of Buddhist temple thefts, officials say


The White Settlement Police Department announced Wednesday the arrest of a man accused of stealing $38,000 from a Buddhist temple.

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas — A man accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a Buddhist temple was arrested in Minnesota on May 22, White Settlement police said in a release Wednesday. 

The theft occurred on Nov. 20, 2022, at the Wat Busayadhammavanaram Buddhist Temple in White Settlement. The theft, where a group of suspects stole $38,000, was one in a string of robberies at Buddhist temples across North Texas. 

In Nov. 2023, White Settlement police later identified 36-year-old Narcis Chiciu using facial recognition software. Officers believe he was residing in Arlington at the time and issued a warrant for a second-degree felony for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. 

Police were notified on May 22 by the Washington County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Office that Chiciu was taken into custody by the Woodbury Police Department, according to a press release from White Settlement police. 

The department is awaiting his extradition to Tarrant County pending additional charges in Minnesota.

 “I am thankful for our detectives’ tenacity and dedication to seeking justice in this case, which undoubtedly will also assist other law enforcement agencies in solving similar crimes,” Christopher Cook, chief of police in White Settlement said in a statement.