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Bishop and wife robbed of $1m in jewellery as he preached


Bishop Lamor Whitehead. Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead. Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead. Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

A New York preacher was robbed at gunpoint as he delivered a sermon, with the thieves escaping with jewellery valued at more than $1m (€990,000).

Lamor Whitehead, a bishop at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, was robbed of his chains, cross, wedding ring and watch.

Three armed and masked intruders burst into the church in the south-eastern Brooklyn neighbourhood of Canarsie on Sunday as Mr Whitehead asked his congregation: “How many of you have lost your faith because you saw somebody else die?”

Having ripped the jewels and clerical collar from the bishop, who was forced to the ground, they moved on to his 38-year-old wife, snatching her jewels as the congregation cowered in fear.

They also pointed a gun at the couple’s eight-month-old daughter.

The robbers then made their escape in a white Mercedes.

“When I see them coming into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody get out, just get out,” Mr Whitehead said on Instagram.

“I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up, or if they were just coming for
a robbery.”

It was unclear why the church was targeted.

However, Mr Whitehead, who drives a Rolls-Royce, has attracted criticism over his lifestyle.

“It’s about me purchasing what I want to purchase. It’s my prerogative to purchase what I want to purchase,” he said in a video defending his flamboyant lifestyle.

The violent heist, which was caught on a livestream video of the service, was a graphic illustration of a crimewave that has been sweeping across New York.

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Earlier this month the New York Police Department released figures showing major crime in the city has risen by 37pc this year.

Robberies have increased by nearly 40pc and burglaries by just under 33pc.

Last week a crew member was shot dead while working on the long-running television crime series Law & Order’s set in Brooklyn.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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