NEW YORK (PIX11) — Two suspects in the mid-sermon gunpoint robbery of a prominent Brooklyn bishop and his wife, which yielded what the victims said was more than $1 million in jewelry, have been arrested, authorities said Wednesday.
In a briefing held at NYPD headquarters in Lower Manhattan, officials announced the arrests and federal indictments of Juwan Anderson and Say-Quan Pollack, both 23, in the July stick-up, which was caught on a since-deleted church livestream.
Anderson and Pollack, both of Brooklyn, are charged in the Eastern District of New York with Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy, Hobbs Act robbery, and possessing and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to legal filings unsealed ahead of a Wednesday afternoon court appearance. A third suspect, whose identity was not released and who remained at large Wednesday, has also been indicted in the case, officials said.
“As alleged, the defendants brought guns into a place of worship, stealing from two members of the clergy, and terrifying the congregation in the process,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “I commend the special agents and detectives for their outstanding efforts in identifying the perpetrators who committed a crime that shocks the conscience for its brazenness.”
Bishop Lamor Whitehead, 44, was preaching at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry on Remsen Street in Canarsie around 11:15 a.m. on July 24 when three men stormed in and robbed him and his wife, 38, at gunpoint, police said.
One of the crooks allegedly pointed a gun in the face of Whitehead’s 8-month-old child during the hold-up, he said in a Facebook post shortly after the robbery.
In front of Whitehead’s horrified congregation, the trio snatched rings, watches, chains, and other jewelry that the victims cumulatively valued at over $1 million, according to authorities. NYPD officials said Wednesday that the jewelry has not been recovered.
Whitehead, 44, formed Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in 2013, after serving a five-year prison sentence for identity theft and grand larceny. Whitehead claims he was illegally convicted.
He came to federal court Wednesday in part to dispel any notions that he was in on the crime, saying outside court that he hoped the arrests put to rest false rumors “that I had something to do with this. … My family and my church have been very traumatized. I’m hoping we get justice.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.