A preacher and his wife had $1 million worth of jewelry stolen during a sermon

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Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead was livestreaming his Sunday sermon at Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches in Brooklyn when he asked his congregation, “How many of you have lost your faith because you saw someone else die?”

Moments later, three people in masks and armed with guns entered the church, police said.

“Okay, okay, okay,” Miller-Whitehead said as she got down and prone, according to clips of the incident, which were captured live. One of the intruders stood over Miller-Whitehead, appeared to take items from the pastor, and walked away with them.

In total, the intruders got away with more than $1 million worth of jewelry belonging to Miller-Whitehead and his 38-year-old wife, the New York Police Department said in a statement to The Washington Post, adding that an investigation was ongoing and no arrests were made Monday evening.

“I want justice. I want these men arrested,” Miller-Whitehead, 44, said in an Instagram post Monday, adding that he was offering a $50,000 reward for the “arrest and capture” of the perpetrators.

In an earlier Instagram post, Miller-Whitehead recounted parts of the incident that unfolded around 11:14 a.m. in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. He said he was conducting his morning service when three to four armed men came in looking “specifically for me”. As he lay on the ground, one of the men pointed a gun at his back, he said. One of them, he said, also pointed his gun at his child’s face.

They took his watch, his bishop’s ring and his wedding ring, he said. Sensing that Miller-Whitehead had chains under his shirt, one of the men “ripped my collar off just to get to my jewelry,” he said. Miller-Whitehead said he felt in danger and it would have been a “bad situation” if he had resisted.

“I felt the demonic force“, he said, adding, “I felt him push through the door.

After the robbers left, Miller-Whitehead said he chased them but lost them. Police said the armed intruders escaped in a white Mercedes.

Miller-Whitehead did not immediately respond to a Post request for comment early Tuesday.

$2 Million ‘Irreplaceable’ Gold Tabernacle Stolen From Brooklyn Church

Miller-Whitehead grew up in Brooklyn and started the Ministry of Tomorrow’s Leaders after spending six years in prison, according to an online biography. He was convicted of impersonation and robbery, convictions that Miller-Whitehead maintains are illegal, the Associated Press reported. He made headlines in May when he tried to negotiate the surrender of a suspect in a fatal subway shooting, The New York Times reported.

In his biography, Miller-Whitehead highlighted his ties to Mayor Eric Adams, saying he was “adopted as a mentor” by Adams, a former borough president of Brooklyn. Adams told the New York Daily News that he and Miller-Whitehead spoke by phone shortly after the 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 told the Daily News. “The NYPD is investigating this crime and will work tirelessly to bring the criminals involved to justice.”

Miller-Whitehead said on Instagram on Sunday that his family and ministry were traumatized by the incident. “It hurts me because my church is hurt,” he said.

He also pushed back against criticism that his flashiness had invited theft, saying shootings had taken place at Brooklyn churches whose pastors were not “flashy”.

Just in May, a $2 million gold tabernacle was stolen from a Catholic church in Brooklyn.

“Let’s not be naive about the devil being real,” Miller-Whitehead said.

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