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Thieves Nab $1 Million in Jewelry from Flashy Brooklyn Pastor During Service

By Josh Shepherd
thieves lamor whitehead suit defamation
Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead preaches during a Sunday service at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Brooklyn, New York. (Video screengrab)

A Brooklyn pastor known for his conspicuous wealth was robbed at gunpoint during a live-streamed service on Sunday, as thieves reportedly nabbed over $1 million in jewelry worn by him and his wife.

Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 44, founder and pastor of Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Brooklyn, New York, was preaching on July 24 when three masked men wearing all black entered the sanctuary brandishing firearms. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up, or if they were just coming for a robbery,” Whitehead said later in a Facebook Live recap video.

On the church service livestream video, an assailant points a gun at Whitehead as the minister laid on the ground, saying, “Alright, alright.” The thief removed the minister’s jewelry including a Rolex watch, multiple chains, a Bishop’s ring, wedding band, and gold cross necklace.

Soon after, an assailant stole jewelry from Whitehead’s wife, Asia, while reportedly holding a gun to their eight-month-old daughter’s head. The three masked figures—whom Whitehead later identified as Black men—fled the scene and none have been arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD).

In total, the Whiteheads were robbed of more than $1 million worth of jewelry according to multiple reports. The minister has subsequently offered $50,000 for any information leading to the assailants’ arrest.

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Whitehead is known as a friend of current New York City mayor Eric Adams, whom Whitehead refers to on his church’s website as a mentor. Media reports note Whitehead has been seen driving in his Rolls-Royce to meet with the mayor.

Adams spoke to Whitehead soon after the robbery, according to a city hall spokesperson.

At one point in the Facebook Live video, Whitehead addresses his conspicuous wealth, saying a rich lifestyle is “how God has set it up” for him. “It’s not about me being flashy,” he said. “It’s about me purchasing what I want to purchase.”

Two months earlier, thieves stole a $2 million solid gold tabernacle from a Catholic church located four miles from the Brooklyn church. Reportedly no victims were present during that theft and it remains under investigation.

Personal testimony and claims of spiritual warfare

Whitehead, who founded the church in 2013, forged his ministry out of what he frames as a redemption story.

whitehead theft
Lamor Miller-Whitehead (Courtesy Photo)

Authorities arrested him in January 2006 on charges related to a $2 million identity theft scam. He served only five years of a minimum 11-year sentence. Whitehead claims that he “drew closer to God in his afflictions” and that his conviction was overturned.

In a 70-minute video streamed hours after the recent robbery, Whitehead said he was grateful the gunmen harmed no one in attendance, noting recent mass shootings that have occurred across the U.S.

The Brooklyn minister also speaks of their church being “deeply connected” to the local community through mentoring programs. However, past news reports cite the NYPD and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce refuting his claims of various community outreach initiatives.

Whitehead also suggested the theft is indicative of spiritual warfare, calling it an example of “how the devil moves.” He said, “The enemy has been attacking Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries for some time now,” he said. “A few weeks ago, I was troubled with a phone call (about) speculations that there were guns in my church.”

The minister said his attorney handled the firearms in question, and it is unclear if the statement has any connection to the robbery. Whitehead noted his church’s next Sunday service will proceed as planned.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.



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25 Responses

  1. People why are your so gullible to give a dime to this guy. Other than feel good pump and dump emotions, what spiritual fulfillment can he provide. Please stop tithing to these con artists and hey preacher please review MATT 7:23

  2. Not sure if I am more upset that a robbery occurred, or that a pastor is wearing a million dollars worth of jewelry while preaching. Looks like the pastor has been robbing people for quite some time. If Jesus were in a grave He would roll over in it.

    1. And he played the Spiritual Warfare card.

      And does “Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries” sound as pretentious to you as it does to me?
      I got the vibe of “Head Apostle of The People of Destiny” when I heard that.

      Both of the above do not help his credibility.

    2. In New York, saying that to people would be a violation of the CROWN ACT, SB 6209 (2019),and a hate crime.

  3. Well, if the Lord giveth, the Lord can taketh away. I grew up in Brooklyn. Lots of people struggling to get by. I can’t muster a lot of sympathy for a “pastor” who had the unmitigated gall to own and to wear that kind of bling to church.

    1. “Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing,” (1Ti 2:9, NETfree)

      It should be pointed out that his wife’s jewelry was stolen also. It’s a shame that they had to go through this experience, whether their jewelry was insured or not. If insurance rates go on this type of nonsense –excellent❗????

    1. After 30 years of practicing law and way too much time since spent watching television police dramas, I’m thinking “cahoots ” and “insurance fraud “.
      We’ll see.

  4. You become a target when you flash your wealth. In Mexico City they will kidnap you if they believe your family is wealthy. They will demand a ransom and if they don’t get it, you might be sent a finger to remind you that they are waiting.

    1. No, not you, you’re already in their hands – It’s the family that’d be sent the finger.

  5. Based on his ‘track record’, it would not be all that surprising if this were an ‘inside’ job. Look for the insurance claim payout.

  6. The guy in the photo needs serious fashion help. The pastor, I mean, not the crook.
    PS, I’ve decided to comment on the photos now; no one else does.

  7. So no mention of how much all this bling was insured for? I smell something fishy. One doesn’t walk around flashing that sort of wealth in that area without security.

  8. Bill Hoskins and others are right. Stand by for the insurance scam. I might add, in addition to smelling fishy, his church entrance should have HAZ MAT labels to warn his victims. Corrosive, Poison labels at minimum. Borderline hilarious.

  9. This fellow and John MacArthur have some things in common—

    “The Prosperous Lifestyle of America’s Anti-Prosperity Gospel Preacher”

    At least John doesn’t flash it around! ;-D

    The following article gives you something to think about. ☛

    I can’t see much financial transparency in this fellow’s church?

  10. My heart bleeds – No, not for him, but for the other people insured with his insurance company. They weren’t even caught up in his false worship, but they will have to pay increased premiums as a result. Brilliant idea for extending the community of your victims.
    Well spotted, Mike Moore!

  11. I’m appalled at the comments here. How Christian like. Incredible amounts of speculation. Unbelievable.

    A previous commentator mentioned john macarthur. Almost all famous Christians have gotten rich off of their savior, Jesus.

    JM, JM, TE, DJ, RZ, FG. Most of the superstars. Disgusting.

  12. At our church, not only would the bandits have come away with maybe a $40 Timex, but because we take Luke 11:21 more literally than they do in New York, they would likely have found their cases remanded to a higher jurisdiction in short order.
    But then, we live in one of the big, scary, rectangular states in the Central Time Zone.

  13. More megachurch whoring. Hybels, Osteen, Lentz, Hinn, Warren, Driscoll, MacArthur, MacDonald, Wood–they’re all about as pristine and unspoiled on the inside as a porch pumpkin in March.

    They’re born every day. As long as Homo sapiens exists as a species, these hucksters will always have an eager fanbase, oops, I meant flock.

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