Burglars lock priest in bedroom, raid temple

Dallas police are looking for two burglars who locked a priest inside his room before stealing thousands of dollars in temple property.

The burglary happened around 10 p.m. on June 13 at the Texas Krishna Church on Gurley Avenue in Old East Dallas. Surveillance video shows the two Latin males entering the building through a back door. One man tried to use his shirt as a hoodie, but still exposes his face to camera.

Police said one of the temple’s monks was asleep in his room at the time. The burglars used a TV and some chairs to jam his bedroom doors before stealing his computer and cash.

“There was a footprint by his bed,” said Mike Meyer, a Texas Krishna Temple spokesman. “You could see they were looking at him to see if he was going to wake up.”

The monk woke up around 11:30 p.m. He said when he tried to open the door, he couldn’t. He heard the burglars rifling through his suitcase on the other side of the door.

“If I'd have woken up I could have been dead by now or maimed or something," said the monk, Kesava Bharati Maharaja.

The surveillance video shows the burglars visited the temple earlier in the night. They were walking through the parking lot, casing the property.

The burglars also took a saw and tile cutter worth nearly $8,000 combined from the building. The tools were cabled to a pole.

“They were able to cut the cable,” Meyer said. “They took both pieces of equipment plus some other tools we had here.”

The Texas Krishna church has been in the neighborhood since the 1970's. Its restaurant is often cited as the best vegetarian food in Dallas.

Forty years ago the neighborhood around it was a pretty rough place. But in recent years, crime has been rare.

Anyone who recognizes the suspects is encouraged to call Detective E. Keller at 214-670-5053. Anonymous tips are also welcome through Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477.