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2 Charged After NY Pastor Robbed of $1M in Jewelry During Sermon

The defendants allegedly ‘brought guns into a place of worship, stealing from two members of the clergy, and terrifying the congregation in the process.’

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Two men have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a church in Brooklyn, NY, in which $1 million in jewelry was reportedly taken.

An indictment was unsealed on Sept. 28 charging Juwan Anderson and Say-Quan Pollack for their alleged roles in the July 24 crime. A third defendant remains at large, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

According to media reports, Bishop Lamor Whitehead and his wife were robbed during a livestreamed sermon. Three armed assailants allegedly entered the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries church in the Canarsie neighborhood and demanded jewelry. About 20 to 25 people were reportedly in attendance at the service. 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, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “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. This Office will always work with our law enforcement partners to protect our houses of worship, prosecute those who engage in gun violence and and ensure the safety of all members of our community.”

More from the release:

As alleged in the indictment and court filings, Anderson, Pollack and a co-conspirator—masked and clad all in black—entered the Church brandishing firearms, while parishioners attended Church services in person and via a live-stream.  The lead pastor (“Individual 1” in the Indictment) dove to the floor, while his wife (“Individual 2” in the Indictment) shielded their infant daughter who was sitting on her lap.  Pollack stood guard at the doorway, pointing a firearm in the direction of the parishioners and the pulpit. The co-conspirator, wielding a gun, approached Individual 2 and pulled jewelry off her person.  Pollack then approached Individual 1 as he lay on the floor and made sure that all of his jewelry had been removed by Anderson and the co-conspirator.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca M. Schuman is prosecuting the case.

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