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Riviera Beach woman threw 'fire bombs' at Palm Beach County Buddhist temple, authorities say

Mei Zhu Cheung, 46, hurled 4 Molotov cocktails at St. Dak Buddhist Temple, according to PBSO
Mei Zhu Cheung, 46, appears in Palm Beach County court on Sept. 27, 2021.jpg
Crime scene investigators at the St. Dak Buddhist Temple, located at 6973 Donald Ross Road in Palm Beach County, on Sept. 26, 2021.jpg
Posted at 9:42 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 16:16:26-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A Riviera Beach woman is under arrest after investigators said she threw four Molotov cocktail fire bombs at a Buddhist temple in Palm Beach County over the weekend.

According to an arrest report, residents of the St. Dak Buddhist Temple, located at 6973 Donald Ross Road, found multiple items burning in the parking lot around 7:15 a.m. Sunday.

Detectives said the "improvised incendiary devices" were glass bottles and jars with a cloth inside for the wick, along with citronella torch fuel used to light them.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said surveillance video showed a woman, later identified as Mei Zhu Cheung, 46, throwing four fire bombs over the gate of the temple and stuffing a fifth lit bomb inside a mailbox.

In the video, Cheung was seen driving a Toyota Sienna minivan, and a license plate search led authorities to her home in Riviera Beach, the arrest report stated.

Detectives said Cheung was also involved in a case of criminal mischief at the Buddhist temple on Sept. 12 when she spray-painted vulgarities on the front gate and sign.

Cheung is under arrest on charges of possession of a fire bomb and criminal mischief to a place of worship and is currently in the Palm Beach County Jail. In court on Monday, a judge set Cheung's bond at $100,000.

Cheung's family claims she’s suffering from mental illness. Her son told WPTV Contact 5 over the phone Monday that his mother started acting strange after she went to the temple a few times in 2016.

Cheung's son said his mother "started acting weird after she went" and "she kept saying something went inside of her."

The sheriff’s office said detectives are speaking with the State Attorney's Office on whether charges will be enhanced.