SAN DIEGO — Police were investigating Monday after a little Buddha statue was stolen from outside of the Hsi Fang Temple in University Heights Saturday night, according to the temple.

FOX 5 received surveillance footage from the San Diego Buddhist Association showing two people just before 11:30 p.m. stepping onto the front garden and picking up a little Buddha statue. Both can be seen carrying the statue along the sidewalk, briefly setting it down to place it inside one of the person’s jacket before lifting it away.

Venerable Miaozang of the San Diego Buddhist Association said the temple has owned the little Buddhas for more than 10 years and they’ve been out front of their bookstore since 2017.

“It brings a lot of joy, happiness and calmness to the community here,” she said.

buddha statue
A little Buddha statue shown here at the Hsi Fang Temple in University Heights. (KSWB)

As Miaozang was doing her daily routine of watering the plants on Sunday, she was shocked to find one of the Buddhas missing. That prompted her to file a report to the police and watch the temple’s surveillance video.

Miaozang is asking for those who stole the statue to return it, saying that the temple may not prosecute them.

“It’s for the community,” she said. “It’s not just for us. It might not be very valuable to any other people, but to us it’s priceless,” she said.

According to Miaozang, their little Buddha statues have never been taken before.

Detectives with San Diego Police Department are working to look for the two or three people involved in the crime, Miaozang added.

“We truly hope that we can have the little Buddha back, if possible,” she said.