Brooklyn bishop says he was robbed of over $1 million in jewelry while delivering live sermon

Francis Akhalbey July 26, 2022
Bishop Lamor Whitehead was robbed while he was delivering a sermon -- Image via CBS News

A group of armed men stormed a Brooklyn church and robbed a bishop of his jewelry while he was delivering a sermon. The Sunday service at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries was being live-streamed when the robbery happened. 

In an interview with CBS News, Bishop Lamor Whitehead said he believes the armed robbers targeted him. The unidentified men entered the church about five to ten minutes after the sermon started. Whitehead’s wife was also robbed.

“I said, ‘Alright, alright, alright,’ pretty much stating that I’m not going to do anything because I know you’re coming for me. You’re coming straight to me. I don’t want my parishioners hurt. I’ve got women and children there,” Whitehead said.

“As I got down, one went to my wife and took all her jewelry and had the gun in front of my 8-month-old baby’s face. Took off my bishop’s ring, my wedding band and took off my bishop’s chain, and then I had chains underneath my robe and he started tapping my neck to see if anything else. So that means they knew. They watched and they knew that I have other jewelry.”

Footage of the robbery shows the bishop lying down after the gunmen enter the church. “They had guns on my deacons that was at the door,” Whitehead recalled.

The bishop also revealed there were around 100 worshippers in the church, adding that they all lay on the ground when the gunmen entered. “My church is traumatized. The women and children are still crying. Babies are still crying,” he said.

Police said the robbers fled the scene in a white Mercedes Benz vehicle. Whitehead said the police have managed to get a license plate, adding that the robbers were also seen changing their clothes after they exited the church.

“These men, they need to turn themselves in,” Whitehead said. “I forgive you and I’m praying for you, and I hope that God deliver you from the mindset of who you are at this time.” 

The bishop said he believes the robbers targeted him and his family after he made the news for the role he played in helping turn in an individual accused of fatally shooting a 48-year-old man at a subway in May, CBS News reported.

“I turned him in, but the media called me ‘the bling, bling bishop.’ They had my Rolls-Royce car all over everywhere and I feel that that played a part in this,” Whitehead said. “I think all pastors should be able to get permits for pistols.” 

And though authorities said the jewelry the robbers stole from the bishop and his wife was worth $400,000, sources claim the value was over $1 million, FOX 5 New York reported. 

“No one in this city should be the victim of armed robbery, let alone our faith leaders and congregants worshiping in a House of God. The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice,” a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 26, 2022


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