Videos posted on social media captured the moments a bishop in Brooklyn was robbed of $400,000 worth of jewelry while delivering a sermon this past weekend.
This comes just weeks after the New York Police Department (NYPD) reported an overall index crime in New York City by 31.1 percent in June 2022 compared with June 2021.
A spokesperson for the NYPD told Newsweek that the incident occurred on Sunday at around 11:14 a.m. local time when officers were called to the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry located at 922 Remsen Avenue.
The video, which was posted by several different social media users and local media outlets, appears to show Bishop Lamor Whitehead delivering a sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry in Canarsie, Brooklyn. You can view the video here.
As the video begins, Bishop Whitehead can be seen standing on stage at the ministry when he is heard yelling “all right, all right” and placing his hands above his head. The video obtained by the New York Daily News then shows the bishop lying on the floor as a man wearing a black hood and face mask walks past the camera.
As the video continues, only the bishop’s legs can be seen as he is lying on the floor and a masked man can be seen standing over him and removing some of his belongings.
When the video concludes, the masked men are seen leaving the ministry and Whitehead is eventually able to stand up and walk toward the camera. The video was a live stream of the service being held on Sunday.
The NYPD spokesperson said that “church services were being held and live streamed when three unidentified individuals entered the location, displayed firearms and demanded property from the 44-year-old male and his 38-year-old female.”
“The individuals removed more than $1 million worth of jewelry from the victims,” the NYPD spokesperson added.
According to WNYW news in New York, Whitehead was robbed of at least $400,000 worth of jewelry.
The NYPD spokesperson told Newsweek that after the robbery, the suspects fled on foot and eventually got into a Mercedes Benz. The suspects were last seen “traveling eastbound on Avenue D,” the spokesperson said.
An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing.
Following the incident, Whitehead spoke in a video posted to Instagram and said he knew that the armed men were coming for him and didn’t want his own parishioners to get hurt. You can view it here.
“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,” he said. “My church is traumatized.”
According to the New York Daily News, Whitehead previously worked with New York City Mayor Eric Adams to help with the surrender of an individual suspected of murder on the city’s subway system.
In a statement sent to Newsweek, the mayor said, “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.”
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