CANARSIE, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Police are on the hunt for the armed robbers who allegedly stole $1 million in jewelry from a bishop and his wife during a church service in Brooklyn, officials said. The NYPD released new video on Wednesday of the masked suspects—dressed head-to-toe in black—as they entered the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry during Sunday service around 11:15 a.m.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead, 44, said he and his wife, 38, were held up a gunpoint as their terrified congregation looked on. The robbery was captured and broadcast on a livestream, which the church has since taken down. Whitehead, who is known for his flashy lifestyle, told NEWS10’s sister station in New York City on Wednesday that he also gives back to his community and that he believes the robbery was targeted.
“People are going to say, ‘Oh, well why are you so flashy?'” Whitehead said in a previous Facebook post after the robbery. “I was troubled with a phone call that there was speculation there were guns in my church … and I don’t know if this is connected.”
The preacher told detectives he and his wife were robbed of a reported $1 million in jewelry they were wearing. He also claimed in a Facebook post after the robbery that one of the suspects pointed a gun at his 8-month-old baby. “When I’ve seen them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody, ‘Get down,’” Whitehead said.
Police were told that as many as 25 people were inside the Canarsie church at the time, but no one was injured. The suspects ran out with expensive rings, watches, and necklaces, and drove away in a white Mercedes, according to detectives. However, Whitehead said it’s not about the money, it’s about the safety of his family and his congregants. He offered a $50,000 cash reward for the suspects’ arrest.
“It hurts me because my church is hurting,” Whitehead said in a Facebook post. “The women and children that were in my church—my daughter is traumatized, right now … they had a gun in my 8-month-old’s face.”