New York bishop, wife robbed in $400K jewelry heist during livestreamed service

PATCHOGUE, NEW YORK - AUGUST 02: Bishop Lamor Miller Whitehead speaks during the celebration of life for Biz Markie at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on August 02, 2021 in Patchogue, New York. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images) (JN, Getty Images 2022)

A Brooklyn bishop and his wife were robbed during a livestreamed sermon Sunday after armed assailants stormed the service and made off with around $400,000 worth of jewelry, New York City police said.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead was in the middle of delivering his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in Canarsie when three gunmen burst in around 11:15 a.m., the NYPD said.

The armed assailants “displayed firearms and demanded property” from the 44-year-old bishop and his wife, 38, police said.

“When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out,” Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram following the incident. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery.”

In the end, he said he was thankful that it was the latter, but said “they took all of my wife’s jewelry and took all of my jewelry,” including his wedding band.

In video shared online by local media outlets appearing to show the incident, which was captured on a livestream that appears to have since been taken down, Whitehead can be heard saying “alright, alright,” before dropping to the ground on his hands and knees.

A masked suspect can later be seen approaching the bishop and holding what appears to be a firearm pointed at his back, before appearing to make away with his jewelry. The video has not yet been independently verified by NBC News.

Police said the attackers were believed to have taken around $400,000 worth of jewelry in total before fleeing the service on foot and entering a white Mercedes Benz.

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