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.

vandaism suspect e1535060305611 Woman Accused Of Vandalizing Buddhist Statues Charged With Hate Crime

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 (2)
  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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