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Donations for Turkey, Syria earthquake victims stolen from North Texas mosque

The incident happened at the Islamic Association of Lewisville and Flower Mound mosque on Monday afternoon.

FLOWER MOUND, Texas — An investigation is underway after a North Texas mosque was burglarized on Monday.

Police in Flower Mound said they responded to a burglary call at the Islamic Association of Lewisville and Flower Mound (IALFM) mosque, located at 3430 Peters Colony Road.

An unknown suspect in a mask went inside the mosque around 10:30 a.m. Monday and stole money from metal lockboxes, officials at the mosque told WFAA.

The money was for donations meant for victims of the tragic earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

This, unfortunately, wasn't the first theft the mosque had to deal with this week.

On Sunday, surveillance video showed the moment an unmasked man got into the empty mosque, wandered around and broke into a donation box. The man is seen removing envelopes and stuffing them into his pockets.

During both incidents, the person drove the same vehicle.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, police identified the suspect as Muhammad Shoaib Khan, 36, of Virginia. Police said Khan may be driving a white 2022 VW Taos SUV with Virginia license plate UYZ-5770

“It was a shock,” IALFM President Abdul-Razaq Khazi-Syed told WFAA. Khazi-Syed said neither he nor the members of his community had ever seen the suspect in their mosque.

Khazi-Syed showed WFAA the damage left behind after Monday’s forced entry into the donation room. While the mosque was closed, the suspect entered through an unlocked side door, Khazi-Syed said.  

"It upsets me very much because a facility set up to be a place of worship… has been turned into the scene of a crime," Khazi-Syed said.  

The donation room where envelopes were stolen was left with a significant amount of damage. Police said Khan used a saw to tear a hole into the door and unlock the knob, Khazi-Syed said. Lockboxes containing donations were torn apart. Sawdust littered the entire room. 

Khazi-Syed said the donation room typically holds upwards of $1,000 -- money that was meant for earthquake victims.

"It’s sadness, because this person chose to steal from the people that need it the most at the moment,” Khazi-Syed said.

"We’re not going to allow this one incident to feel differently about how we feel about our community and our place," Khazi-Syed said. 

His community is doubling down on donations and trying to help recover the lost money. Some have even offered to pay for the damages, Khazi-Syed said.

"We would’ve helped [the suspect] if he had a genuine need for help," Khazi-Syed said. “But he chose to take the unfortunate route.”

If you have information on Khan's whereabouts, police ask that you call 972- 874-3307. 

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