Armed suspects rob minister, wife mid-sermon, police say

Religion

(NewsNation) — There have been multiple heists in the United States just this month.

These crooks are bold, and no place is safe or sacred. They’re not afraid of the police, either.

On Sunday, gun-toting thieves brazenly barged into a Brooklyn church Sunday and robbed a minister and his wife mid-sermon, according to police.

Bishop Lamor Whitehead, 44, was preaching at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry at 11:15 a.m. when three male suspects stormed in and robbed the preacher and his wife, 38, at gunpoint, police said. The victims told police the men made off with more than $1 million in jewelry, including rings, watches, and chains.

One of the suspects allegedly pointed a gun in the face of Whitehead’s 8-month-old child, he said in a Facebook post.

“As I was preaching, I see three or four armed men come in … I told everybody to get down,” Whitehead said in the social media post. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or just coming for a robbery.”

Whitehead dropped to the ground in his burgundy vestments saying, “Yo, all right, all right, all right” after the bandits interrupted his sermon, according to a video obtained by the Daily News. One of the thieves seen in the video straddled the preacher, took his jewelry and stuffed it into his pockets.

“It hurts me because my church is hurt,” the preacher said in his Facebook post.

The preacher, known for his close friendship with New York City’s mayor, embraces his flashy lifestyle and can often be seen driving around the Big Apple in his Rolls Royce.

After the incident, Whitehead said he followed the robbers and saw them getting into a white Mercedes-Benz where they changed their clothes and took off their masks before fleeing the scene.

The preacher pleaded with the public for help in the hour-long Facebook post and offered a $50,000 cash reward for the suspects’ capture.

“I want justice. I want these men arrested,” he said.

Former CIA officer and former FBI specialist Tracy Walder said she’s never seen robberies like the one’s we’re seeing now.

“We’re seeing an uptick in ‘high-risk crime.’ I do think, with the increase in social media, the increase in Zooming and Livestreaming, things due to the pandemic, that we are really seeing folks being targeted in a much more precise way,” Walder said during a Monday appearance on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”

Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig also weighed in, saying that the root of the robberies could stem from entitlement.

“There’s a lot of envy and rage going on. And the denial that someone is getting hurt by this, there’s a sense that, you know, rich people will always be rich. Rich people will always have. Stores will always have more merchandise, and so they justify it in their own mind that it is OK for them to get what they feel they deserve. There’s an entitlement there as well.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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