Trang Thu Pham Held for Buddhist Temple Vandalism After Security Guard Recognizes Her

News coverage led cops to Trang Thu Pham.
News coverage led cops to Trang Thu Pham.
Courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department

UPDATE, JAN. 14, 11:14 A.M.: A 45-year-old woman's arrest Tuesday for continually vandalizing Buddha statues outside a Santa Ana temple came after a security officer at a Costa Mesa drug store recognized a shopper as the suspect shown in television news reports. Trang Thu Pham confirmed to detectives she was the person in photos and videos from the front of Hoc Tich Buddhist Temple, according to the Santa Ana Police Department. Before being booked into the city jail on suspicion of felony vandalism of a place of worship, Pham explained she has nothing against the Buddhist religion, say investigators, who suspect her issues are with someone associated with that particular temple.

Santa Ana cops had been contacted by Tuesday by the Costa Mesa Police Department, which had detained Pham at a CVS store on Harbor Boulevard, where the security guard confirmed via a picture from a news story on his cell phone that the lady shopper was the woman being sought. The guard then called Costa Mesa Police.

Hong Tich Buddhist Temple in Santa Ana was vandalized by a woman passing by, police say.
Hong Tich Buddhist Temple in Santa Ana was vandalized by a woman passing by, police say.
All photos courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department

ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 8, 7:08 A.M.: Police detectives are seeking the public's help in identifying a woman who vandalized Hong Tich Temple, a place of Buddhist worship at 4821 W. 5th St., Santa Ana.

"The Santa Ana Police Department was contacted by the Hong Tich Buddhist Temple after they located surveillance video of an unknown woman throwing glass bottles at statues of Buddha located at the front of their temple," reads a statement from the police agency.

Top photo shows a woman tossing a bottle at temple statue, the bottom shows her throwing debris.
Top photo shows a woman tossing a bottle at temple statue, the bottom shows her throwing debris.
Trang Thu Pham Held for Buddhist Temple Vandalism After Security Guard Recognizes Her

"Since Dec. 16, 2014, the temple has experienced a total of eight incidents of glass bottles being smashed at the front of the temple causing damage to the statues. The female depicted in the photos was observed throwing bottles at the statues on three separate occasions during various hours of the day. It is believed she may be involved in the additional incidents."

Other bottle smashing dates include Dec. 18, 25, 30, 31 of 2014 and Jan. 2, 5 and 6 (as in Tuesday) of this year, police say.

Get a closer look at the suspect on the next page ...
 

A closer look at the suspect.
A closer look at the suspect.

The smasher is described as Asian, 25-40 years old, 115-130 pounds, 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-5, with short dark hair.

Anyone with information about her is asked to contact Santa Ana Police Det. A. Gonzalez at 714.245.8732. Anonymous tips may be left with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters "OCCS.")

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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