- MICHAEL R SISAK
New York, United States
A preacher known for his close friendship with the mayor of New York had more than $1 million worth of jewelry stolen on Sunday by gunmen who crashed his church service in Brooklyn as he preached about keep the faith in the face of severe adversity, police said.
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead, who embraces his flashy lifestyle and can often be seen driving around the Big Apple in his Rolls Royce, was delivering a sermon to his Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries when police said three robbers entered. They showed guns and demanded ownership of Miller-Whitehead and his wife, Asia K DosReis-Whitehead, police said.
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead speaks with the media about his attempt to negotiate the surrender of a man accused of shooting a stranger on a New York City subway train, Tuesday, May 24, in New York City. Miller-Whitehead, a preacher known for his close friendship with the mayor of New York, had more than $1 million worth of jewelry stolen on Sunday July 24 by gunmen who destroyed his church service in Brooklyn. IMAGE: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer/File Photo
The service was also streamed live online.
In the video, which appears to have been removed from church social media, Miller-Whitehead is heard asking his flock, “How many of you lost your faith because you saw someone else die? ” moments before the thieves entered the church.
He is then seen dropping to his hands and knees and repeatedly saying “okay, okay”, before a man holding a gun and wearing a black sweatshirt walks into frame. The man, who was also wearing a black mask, is then seen approaching Miller-Whitehead, who was hiding behind a gold desk and stuffing the bishop’s jewelry into his pockets.
Another man, dressed in similar attire, is then seen walking towards Miller-Whitehead, lingering near him for a few minutes and then running away. Miller-Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram that the thieves ripped off his collar to grab his chain and pointed a gun at his baby girl’s face while stealing his wife’s jewelry.
Police say the thieves fled in a white Mercedes that was last seen on Avenue D near the church in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood. Neither Miller-Whitehead, 44, nor DosReis-Whitehead, 38, were physically injured, police said. Their daughter is also unharmed.
In a video posted to Instagram, Miller-Whitehead said he felt a “demonic force” enter the church and was unsure if the gunmen “wanted to shoot the church or just came for a flight”. He said he was grateful no one was hurt.
“When I saw them entering the sanctuary with their weapons, I told everyone get out, everyone get out,” said Whitehead, who on Monday offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to arresting thieves.
A message seeking comment has been left for Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries.
Miller-Whitehead, 44, formed Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in 2013, after serving a five-year prison sentence for identity theft and robbery. Miller-Whitehead claims he was unlawfully convicted.
A City Hall spokesman said New York City Mayor Eric Adams spoke to Miller-Whitehead after Sunday’s robbery.
“No one in this city should be the victim of armed robbery, let alone our religious leaders and our congregants who worship 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.”
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In a video posted Monday on YouTube, Miller-Whitehead thanked the mayor for his support. He said church services next Sunday would continue as planned.
Adams, a former police captain, became close to Miller-Whitehead when he was Brooklyn borough president – a position he held for eight years until becoming mayor in January. Miller-Whitehead made an unsuccessful bid last year to succeed Adams in the role.
In May, Miller-Whitehead made headlines for showing up at a Manhattan police station in a Rolls Royce SUV as he tried to negotiate the surrender of a man accused of shooting an unknown man in a New York subway train.
Miller-Whitehead told reporters at the time that he had ‘several conversations’ with Adams regarding Andrew Abdullah’s surrender, although the suspect was eventually arrested by police outside the advocacy organization’s offices. public representing him.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Miller-Whitehead defended his bling-loving lifestyle, saying he’s “going to live his life the way God has prepared it for him.”
“It’s not about me being flashy,” Miller-Whitehead said. “It’s about me, buying what I want to buy. And it’s my prerogative to buy what I want to buy.