Bishop Lamor Whitehead thanks God for redemption as gunman who robbed church pleads guilty

Bishop Lamor Whitehead preaching at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in New York City.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead preaching at Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in New York City. | Screengrab: YouTube/Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries

Bishop Lamor Whitehead, who was robbed at gunpoint of at least $1 million worth of jewelry while delivering a sermon at Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches in Brooklyn, New York, in July 2022, is thanking God after one of three suspects involved in the robbery pled guilty in court on Tuesday.

The suspect, Say-Quan Pollack, 25, admitted to Judge William F. Kuntz II in Brooklyn federal court that he was an accomplice in the robbery caught on video, The New York Post reported.

"I participated in a robbery, took another person's property, with a threat," Pollack said during a court hearing. 

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The 25-year-old, who faced a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, pleaded guilty to one count of federal robbery for which he is expected to serve between 5.25 and 6.5 years in prison if he "clearly demonstrates acceptance of responsibility" for what he did according to court files.

A second suspect, Juwan Anderson, who pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond, could also accept a plea deal. A third suspect, identified as 41-year-old Shamar Leggette, is still on the run.

A day after Pollack's sentencing, Whitehead, who faced significant questioning on social media about the robbery, praised God for redeeming him.

"First, I just want to thank everybody. I want to thank every single body that has trusted the bishop, has trusted the God in me," Whitehead said in a video statement on Instagram.

"Even though when everybody ridiculed me, and they made up all of these theories of how I set the robbery up of my church. One year later, we have a guilty plea," he said.

"The young man Say-Quan Pollack, if you all see the video, the tall guy that came in the pulpit, with his gun. That was the first guy," Whitehead told his followers.

"He pled guilty to the Hobbs Act robbery. And he pled guilty to coming into the church and robbing myself and my wife with a gun. He had to admit it in order for the judge to accept it. So we're moving forward, you all. God is amazing. And God always shows up and shows out when everybody turns their back on you. God is just amazing."

Whitehead was in court for Pollack's plea with the chairman of his deacon board. He said the hearing made him relive the trauma of the robbery.

"It was a very difficult time. I was sitting with my deacon, the chairman of the deacon board, Wendell. And he was sitting there with me. And I began to reflect on that day. I began to reflect on that day. And I began to relive that moment. And I thank God for peace," he said. "This has been a very traumatizing time because, as a leader, I watched the video, and I say, I should have did something. … I knew that I did the right thing. But me being a leader and a man, I just felt that I could have did more."

Whitehead faced criticism in the aftermath of the robbery from onlookers who claimed video of the incident made it feel like a staged event.

The bishop, known for his flashy lifestyle, exploded on online media personality Larry Reid and his guest, Genesis Warren. During a Facebook Live interview, Whitehead said, "You can both kiss my a—" after they joked that the robbery looked "Tyler Perryish."

"It did look kind of Tyler Perryish to me," Warren told Reid, referring to the work of movie producer Tyler Perry.

"I'm not saying that the pastor had anything to do with [it]; I don't know. Maybe someone that knows him had him set up because he said in one of the videos that they took one of the chains from him that was inside of his robe. Well, how would someone even know that that was there? So that made me think that it was someone that he knew."

Two months after that interview, Whitehead filed $20 million defamation lawsuits against both Warren and Reid, claiming he lost church members and income after they allegedly painted him as a scammer and drug dealer.

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