SANTA ANA (CBSLA)  — A woman arrested and accused of vandalizing several Buddhist statues has now been charged with a hate crime.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said the suspect harmed many statues, causing great concern to the Vietnamese-American community in Orange.

“To have them be destroyed in such a systematic manner, in such a pervasive manner in the community, does great harm to our spirit as a community,” Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said.

Officials say 48-year-old Santa Ana resident Trang Thu Pham was taken into custody after causing more than $65,000 in damage to eleven statues at the Huong Tich Temple in Santa Ana on Wednesday.

Suspect Trang Thu Pham is charged with vandalism and a hate crime. (credit: OC DA’s office)

Surveillance video from another temple showed a woman, believed to be Pham, smashing several statues with a hammer. Authorities said she hit that temple twice during the month and that she was arrested for similar vandalism in 2015 and 2016.

Police say Pham spent over a year in prison for vandalism.

Not long after she was released, authorities say she struck again.

KCAL9’s Stacey Butler said it was a TV news viewer who recognized Pham from TV and called police. Pham was walking on a sidewalk in Garden Grove when police arrested her.

Comments (3)
  1. Paul Farnham says:

    I wonder if she’s a former Buddhist who’s holding a grudge? Doesn’t seem like she’s learning her lesson.

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