New York City criminals have been running amok and the latest incident to hit the police blotter is a brazen armed robbery of a flamboyant Brooklyn bishop whose Sunday service was rudely interrupted when multiple thugs crashed the sermon which was being live-streamed at the time.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead of the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, who has been tabbed “the bling, bling bishop” by the media due to his flashy jewelry, was in the midst of preaching his message when he saw three or four armed men burst into the room,
“How many of you have lost your faith because you saw somebody else die?” Bishop Whitehead asked the congregation as he spotted the robbers moving on him, saying “Yo, alright, alright, alright as he dropped to his hands and knees behind the podium.
The thugs would go on to steal a reported $400,000 from Whitehead and his wife and churchgoers were possibly also robbed, according to police.
Whitehead recalled the harrowing experience, “When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out,” he said in a video posted to Instagram after the robbery. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery.”
“I don’t want my parishioners hurt, right, I’ve got women and children there,” he said he told the criminals, according to CBS New York.
(Video: YouTube/CBS New York)
“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,” he said. “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.”
The live-streamed video shows one of the assailants pointing the gun at his back as he lay on the floor.
“They had guns on my deacons that was at the door,” Whitehead told the outlet. “My church is traumatized, the women and children are still crying, still crying, babies are still crying.”
According to police, the perps fled the scene in a white Mercedes but they have a license plate as well as witness accounts of the men changing clothes outside.
Bishop Whitehead says that he believes that he was targeted as a result of media publicity from when he helped to negotiate the surrender of Andrew Abdullah, a violent criminal who murdered 48-year-old Goldman Sachs employee Daniel Enriquez onboard a Manhattan-bound Q train in May.
“I turned him in but the media called me the bling, bling bishop,” he told CBS New York, “they had my Rolls Royce car all over everywhere and I feel like that played a part in this.”
“These men, they need to turn themselves in,” he 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.”
“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 New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.
In a video posted to Facebook, Whitehead announced that he is offering a cash reward of $50,000 for the arrest of the men who robbed him.
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