Bishop robbed of more than $1m worth of jewelry in the middle of church service

Lamor Whitehead was mid-sermon when a gunmen entered the Leader’s of Tomorrow International Ministry church

Bevan Hurley
Monday 25 July 2022 15:12 BST
Brooklyn minister robbed at gunpoint during church service
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A Brooklyn bishop and his wife were robbed at gun-point of more than $1m worth of jewelry during a live-streamed church service on Sunday, police say.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead was delivering a sermon when three armed men burst into the Leader’s of Tomorrow International Ministry in Canarsie at around 11.15am, the NYPD said in a statement.

Mr Whitehead can be heard saying “alright alright”, seen putting his hands up and then getting down on the ground as a masked assailant appears onscreen in the live-streamed footage, obtained by ABC7.

The men demanded jewelry from Mr Whitehead, 44, and his 38-year-old wife, police said.

In an Instagram post after the incident, Mr Whitehead said: “When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out.

Brooklyn Bishop Lamor Whitehead puts his hands up during mid-service robbery (YouTube)
Gunman wearing a balaclava appears on live-streamed footage of the robbery at the Leader’s of Tomorrow International Ministry in Brooklyn (YouTube)

“I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery.”

Mr Whitehead said the men took all of his and his wife’s jewelry, including his wedding band.

The suspects fled the church on foot, got into a white Mercedes Benz and were last seen traveling eastbound on Avenue D, police said.

In the Instagram post, Mr Whitehead said he tried to chase the men out of the church after they fled.

Many in the congregation had been left traumatised by the incident, including his young daughter.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead appealed for information after he was robbed at gun-point during a sermon (Instagram/LamorWhitehead)

“To the women in my ministry, to see tears in your eyes, to see the hurt, and the pain, and the violation. Thank you for continuing to trust the mission.”

He also criticised those who accused him of “scamming” churchgoers.

“It’s not about me being flashy. It’s about me purchasing what I want to purchase,” he said. “Y’all not gonna tear me down by your childish thoughts. I’m going to stay focused.”

Mr Whitehead appealed for information in apprehending the assailants, and said he was already receiving tips.

Estimates of the value of the stolen jewelry were initially reported as being worth approximately $400,000.

No-one was injured in the robbery, police said.

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