A New York City preacher was robbed of more than $1m worth of jewelery while delivering a livestreamed sermon on Sunday when armed bandits crashed his Brooklyn church.
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, a Rolls-Royce-driving preacher known for his flamboyant style and friendship with Mayor Eric Adams, was delivering a sermon at his Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries when police say three robbers walked in. They flashed guns and demanded property from Miller-Whitehead and his wife, Asia K DosReis-Whitehead, police said.
The service was also being livestreamed online, and in the video Miller-Whitehead is heard asking “How many of you have lost your faith because you saw somebody else die?” moments before the robbers entered the church. The video then shows him dropping to his hands and knees and repeatedly saying, “all right, all right,” before a man holding a gun and wearing a black sweatshirt enters the frame. The man, who was also wearing a black face mask, is then seen approaching Miller-Whitehead, who was hiding behind a gold-colored lectern, and stuffing the bishop’s jewelery into his pockets.
Another man, dressed in a similar garb, is then seen heading toward Miller-Whitehead, lingering near him for a few minutes and then running off. Miller-Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram that the robbers ripped his collar off of him to grab his chain from him and held a gun to his infant daughter’s face while stealing his wife’s jewelery from her.
Neither Miller-Whitehead, 44, nor DosReis-Whitehead, 38, were physically injured, police said. Their daughter was also unharmed.
In a video posted to Instagram, Miller-Whitehead said he felt a “demonic force” enter the church and wasn’t sure if the gunmen “wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery”. He said he’s thankful no one was hurt.
“When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out,” said Whitehead, who on Monday offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers.
Miller-Whitehead, 44, formed Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in 2013, after serving a five-year prison sentence for identity theft and grand larceny. Miller-Whitehead claims he was illegally convicted.
A city hall spokesperson said Adams spoke with Miller-Whitehead after the robbery Sunday. “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,” Adams said in a statement.
“The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice.”
In a video posted Monday to YouTube, Miller-Whitehead thanked the mayor for his support and said next Sunday’s church services would go on as planned.
In an Instagram post Sunday, Miller-Whitehead defended his lavish lifestyle, saying he’s “going to live his life the way God has it set up for him”.
“It’s not about me being flashy,” Miller-Whitehead said. “It’s about me, purchasing what I want to purchase. And it’s my prerogative to purchase what I want to purchase.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism