Bishop carjacked in Newark, forgives suspects

March 17, 2011 2:42:33 PM PDT
Carjacked at a church: a popular anti-crime pastor becomes the victim of a crime outside his house of worship.

The reverend was pushed to the ground as two young men jumped into his truck and took off.

"I forgive the young man," Bishop Jethro James of Paradise Baptist Church said.

They are inspiring words from a leader in his community.

It was still daylight, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when it happened.

"I opened the gate and was shoved from behind. I fell down on my face," Bishop James said.

Two young men jumped into his truck and took off.

"It's a rough area. We've been here since '93," Bishop James said.

But he says as tough as this area can be, you don't see the graffiti on buildings or shoes hanging from the wires.

He says there has been a respect for him and the church, until now.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy says carjackings got out of hand in the middle of December.

It got to the point where there were four sometimes five carjackings a day.

So a task force was built. Federal marshals were brought in and now there are five or less carjackings a week.

The director says the bishop is a friend and more than being angry: "I think the two of us are disappointed more than anything else," Director McCarthy said.

The director: because there was another carjacking in his city.

The bishop: because someone in his community took advantage of him.

But still this man of God says his mission will not change.

To the men who jumped him and stole his truck, Bishop James said, "If you were hungry I would have fed you. If you were naked, I would have clothed you. And if you wanted a car, I would have given you a ride in one."

The bishop's truck was found and returned after police looked for evidence and fingerprints.

Now he is just waiting for his sense of security to return as well.

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