Law enforcement officials in Houston, Texas, are suggesting that hundreds of envelopes filled with money recently uncovered by a plumber at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church are possibly connected to a theft case from 2014.
According to Church Leaders, the news first broke during the morning show the Morning Bullpen at 100.3 The Bull, where the show asked callers to share if they found any valuable items. One of the callers, an unidentified plumber, told the show that he found 500 envelopes while doing some work at Lakewood Church on November 10.
“There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,” the plumber explained. “Went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away, and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall, and I was like—oh wow.”
In response, the plumber informed Lakewood Church’s maintenance supervisor and “turned it all in.”
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found. Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation,” Lakewood church said in a statement.
The plumber also shared that the Houston Police Department (HPD) had been conducting an investigation involving Lakewood Church since 2014 after $600,000 was stolen from a church safe.
While the amount of money found in the envelopes was not specified, last week, the HPD suggested the envelopes could be connected to the 2014 theft.
“Evidence from the recovered checks suggests this November case is connected to a March 9, 2014 theft report of undisclosed amounts of money at the church,” the police department tweeted on Friday.
“The investigation is ongoing,” they added. “No other information is being released at this time.”
In 2014, an HPD spokesperson confirmed that $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from the church’s safe. According to the Houston Chronicle, Lakewood informed its more than 40,000 church members about the theft and to keep watch on their bank and credit accounts.
The megachurch also said that the stolen funds were fully insured and that they were working with their insurance company to restore the money to the church. Meanwhile, Crime Stoppers of Houston offered a $25,000 reward for anyone with information on whoever was responsible for the robbery.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.