A plumber doing repair work last month at televangelist Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas discovered a reported $600k in cash and checks stuffed in envelopes. The funds are believed to be part of a 2014 robbery at the venue.
The plumber revealed his story Thursday to Houston radio station KILT-FM, according to a report from the city’s KPRC-TV. The caller claimed to have found hundreds of envelopes of cash and checks hidden in a wall inside the church, where he was repairing a loose toilet.
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Police were called to the scene on Nov. 10. according to a statement from the Houston Police Department.
“Church members stated that during a renovation project, a large amount of money — including cash, checks and money orders — was found inside a wall,” the statement said.
The dates on the checks indicated that the envelopes are connected to a March 9, 2014 reported theft of money from the church. Reports at that time suggested the thefts amounted to $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks. All of it was removed from a safe in the church, and represented funds from contributions given on March 8 and 9 of 2014.
Houston police have documented the recovered money and left it with the church, but the investigation into how it got behind the toilet is ongoing, police said.
Lakewood Church issued a statement on the money.
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found,” the statement said. “Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation.”
Osteen is seen by more than 10 million viewers on his weekly cable shows from Houston, and has done stadium-sized revivals in various cities. He is also a best-selling author.
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