Man scammed at Tacoma Buddhist Temple

VIDEO: Man scammed at Tacoma Buddhist Temple

TACOMA, Wash. — The Tacoma Police Department is looking for a woman who stole a $8,000 necklace from a man at a Cambodian Buddhist temple.

Surveillance cameras captured the elaborate scam at Wat Samakki Ratanaram on McKinley Avenue Tuesday.

The video shows a woman walking into the temple and starting a friendly conversation with 71-year-old Sam Thorng. He told KIRO 7 he was confused, and just thought she was trying to be nice.

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"She said, 'You're a good man, I love you and I give you to God," Thorng says, "after that she pulled my hand and said 'come with me lets go outside.'"

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He didn't know what to do when the woman gave him a necklace. Video shows her taking jewelry from her own neck and put it around his. Thorng thought she was being generous.

However, a closer look at the surveillance video shows the woman unclasping Thorng's $8,000 gold chain as she replaces it with fake jewelry. Then, she gets into a maroon vehicle where a getaway driver is waiting.

Peng Kao, the Vice President of Wat Samakki Ratanaram, says it's scary knowing multiple people in the area have reported the same woman doing the same thing.

"She's a professional. We are very upset because we don't want to have that happen to a member of the temple," he said.

Viewers sent KIRO 7 another video that appears to show the woman targeted another elderly victim in Kent. The van in that video looks identical to the van at the temple.

Thorng just hopes police find the woman, who committed such a bold crime in a most unexpected place.

There are reports the woman and her accomplice were also seen at the Korean Women's Association in Tacoma.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tacoma Police Department.