Outrageous Brazen Robberies Target Religious Institutions by Romanian Mobsters

SILVER SPRING, MD – In a shocking development, Romanian Organized Crime Group members, known as ROMAS, have been terrorizing religious institutions in the Washington, D.C., area. Since April, they have brazenly targeted seven Buddhist temples, mosques, and Hindu temples, according to Montgomery County police.

> Nathan Suh, a Montgomery County Police Lieutenant, revealed that arrests were made in approximately half of the incidents. Since the arrest of Alex (23) and Natalian Dumitru (18) in connection with two of the burglaries last month, religious institutions and residences linked to temples and churches have remained untargeted in the area.

Suh, however, painted a concerning picture of the ROMAS group. He described them as a highly organized and agile unit that has operated in the D.C. area for nearly a decade. Suh compared their criminal activity to “cutting the heads of a hydra,” suggesting that every apprehended group member often leads to the emergence of new faces.

> Surveillance footage from the Wat Thai Buddhist Temple in Silver Spring captured the audacious actions of a criminal crew. The footage shows the thieves sauntering into a monk’s home during a funeral service and making off with ,000 from a safe.

The suspects allegedly orchestrated their actions while one distracted a temple member. While one member of their group distracted the temple member, others are accused of absconding with the safe and other valuable items.

Despite the explicit targeting of religious institutions, Suh emphasized that Montgomery County Police did not consider these burglaries as hate crimes. Instead, he categorized them as “crimes of opportunity,” driven by financial gain.

Chris Swecker, a former FBI Special Agent and Assistant Director, expressed surprise at the Romanian Organized Crime Group’s focus on houses of worship. However, he was well acquainted with their modus operandi, which involves quick and calculated strikes.

  • “They’re smart enough to know property crime won’t get them big time and won’t garner as much federal attention,” Swecker explained.

Swecker also highlighted the Romanian Mafia’s extensive presence in the United States. He expressed concern about the FBI’s perceived lack of involvement in dismantling organized crime groups like the ROMAS.

“You just see a disjointed local effort,” Swecker said. “They do their best to coordinate between jurisdictions, but without bringing in the feds, it’s nearly impossible.”