Man charged with breaking into Buddhist temple, stealing bus

A 61-year-old man allegedly broke into the Wat Phramahajanaka Buddhist temple in Griffin, stole a bus and crashed it Wednesday afternoon, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

Credit: Henri Hollis

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A 61-year-old man allegedly broke into the Wat Phramahajanaka Buddhist temple in Griffin, stole a bus and crashed it Wednesday afternoon, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

Credit: Henri Hollis

A man allegedly under the influence of narcotics has been arrested after authorities say he wrecked his car, broke into a Buddhist temple in Griffin, stole a bus and crashed it into a pavilion Wednesday afternoon, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.

The man, 61-year-old Ben Stallings, faces multiple charges, including vehicle theft, the sheriff’s office said, adding that “this was not an attack on a religious facility and there is no indication of any bias.”

Monks who live at the Wat Phramahajanaka temple on Steele Road were in the facility at the time of the incident, authorities said. None of the occupants were injured.

Stallings allegedly left a path of destruction in his wake, as the incident yielded a significant emergency response from the police, fire department and emergency medical services to multiple locations throughout the county, the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities said Stallings suffered a head injury from the crash and had to be removed from the bus by emergency personnel upon their arrival. He was flown to a Macon hospital.

The sheriff’s office noted that, contrary to posts on social media, “no shots fired by anyone involved in this incident or during this event.”

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for more information.

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