Suspects arrested months after N.Y. bishop and wife robbed of around $1M in jewelry during livestreamed service

Johnny Nunez

Two Brooklyn, New York, men were arrested Wednesday and charged with robbing a bishop and his wife of around $1 million in jewelry during a livestreamed church service.

A third man remains at large, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Juwan Anderson and Say-Quan Pollack, both 23, were arrested on charges of robbery, robbery conspiracy and possessing and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to an indictment unsealed in a federal court in Brooklyn.

The robbery happened in July as Bishop Lamor Whitehead was delivering a morning sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in Canarsie. New York police said assailants "displayed firearms and demanded property" from Whitehead and his wife.

Video of the incident appeared to show the bishop trying to calm the robbers down as he dropped to the ground on his hands and knees.

Prosecutors said the unidentified co-conspirator, who was masked and wielding a gun, approached the bishop's wife and pulled off her jewelry. She was shielding her infant daughter, who was sitting on her lap, the news release says.

Pollack was standing guard at the doorway and pointing a gun "in the direction of the parishioners and the pulpit," according to the news release. Pollack then approached Whitehead and "made sure that all of his jewelry had been removed by Anderson and the co-conspirator," prosecutors said.

Police initially said the attackers took around $400,000 worth of jewelry, but they later said the value could be as high as around $1 million. No injuries were reported.

"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 Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for Eastern New York.

John DeVito, a special agent-in-charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that any armed robbery was "intolerable" but that to commit one during a religious service was "incomprehensible."

Whitehead thanked authorities in a Facebook video Wednesday.

"This is such a relief," he said. "I'm just so thankful, and now we will get justice."

It's not clear whether Pollack or Anderson have obtained attorneys.

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