NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating five people who attacked a Buddhist monk at a temple in South Nashville.

Officers said the attack occurred Sunday around 9 a.m. at the Wat Lao Buddhist Temple on Old Hickory Boulevard. 

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Metro police reported the victim, who lives at the temple, heard a knock at the door and when he cracked it open, the robbers forced their way inside and knocked the monk to the ground. The suspects appeared to be a man and four women, one of whom was holding a small child.

Officials said the group held the monk inside while two of the women went through the temple for several minutes, taking cash.

As the group began to leave, the monk attempted to grab a satchel from one of the women in an attempt to prevent her from leaving. 

Investigators believe that’s when video footage captured the group attack the monk until the woman broke free. The suspects fled the scene in a silver Toyota van. 

(Source: Metro Nashville Police Department)

On Thursday afternoon, Metro police said officers found the van abandoned on Battle Ridge Lane in Nolensville. The van has been impounded and will be searched pursuant to a search warrant. It also had a California temporary tag.

Charles Pickney, who has lived across the temple for five years, was at church when the robbery and attack took place. He told News 2 he was shocked by the events.

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“They’ve always been very good neighbors, peaceful,” Pickney said. “It’s kind of like a little campground where people can come on Saturday night and kind of enjoy being with their friends from their temple and all, but never any problems.”

Metro police said the robbery was reported to officials on Tuesday afternoon. Anyone who recognizes the robbers is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.