Security camera video and a vanity license plate left little doubt to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office who lit and threw the fire bombs that burned in the parking lot of True Buddha St. Dak on Sunday morning.
But the report chronicling the arrest of a woman didn’t include an indication why she flung the Molotov cocktails — or why she’d vandalized the temple two weeks before, according to what PBSO says video and the license plate show.
Mei Zhu Cheung, a 46-year-old Riviera Beach woman, is in Palm Beach County jail, charged with five counts of using or possessing a firebomb with explosions or damage and one count of criminal mischief with property damage against a place of worship. Her bond is $100,000.
Molotov cocktails on a Sunday morning
Two members of the temple at 6973 Donald Ross Rd. in unincorporated Palm Beach County near Palm Beach Gardens called the sheriff’s office to say they found four firebombs burning in the parking lot at 7:15 a.m. The deputies who arrived saw they were Molotov cocktails, fabric shoved in a glass or jar like a giant wick to be lit and thrown. The smell of citronella torch fuel was noted.
One of the St. Dak members said the temple didn’t bother reporting another vandalism incident on Sept. 12, but she caught it on video with her cellphone. The deputy said a woman in a gray Toyota Sienna minivan with Florida license plate Y89WPC and “a distinctive front vanity plate ... spray painted vulgarities on the temple gate and sign.”
Surveillance video from Sunday morning, the arrest report says, showed the same woman in the same minivan with the same plates lighting and tossing four Molotov cocktails over the temple’s gate and putting a fifth one in St. Dak’s mailbox.
The license plate traced to one of the residents of a Riviera Beach house. Another resident at that address, detectives said, is Cheung. Her driver’s license photo matched the woman in the vandalization videos, detectives said. One of the temple members picked her out of a photo lineup.