Envelopes full of cash and checks found hidden in wall during repairs
A plumber has reportedly found a large stash of cash hidden inside a wall while doing repairs in Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch.
According to officials at Osteen’s church, the plumber, identified only as “Justin,” found envelopes full of cash and checks in the wall behind a toilet.
On Thursday, the man called into country music station 100.3 The Bull to tell the story of making the strange discovery of the stash on November 10.
“There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,” he said, according to NBC affiliate KPRC.
“We 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!’”
“I went ahead and contacted the maintenance supervisor that was there, and I turned it all in,” he concluded.
DJ for the show “Morning Bullpen” George Lindsey expressed amazement at the revelation.
“It was just unbelievable!” he told the Houston-area news outlet.
“The things he was telling us that they found in the walls.
“We were like, ‘What are you talking about?’
“So, then he relayed to us that in 2014 there was a big story about money being stolen from Lakewood Church that they never recovered.”
The news comes several years after televangelist Osteen’s Lakewood Church was reportedly victimized in a high-profile burglary that took place in 2014.
At the time, the church announced that $600,000 in cash and checks were stolen from the church, but no arrests were made at the time and the money was reportedly not recovered.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Lakewood Church confirmed the discovery of an “undisclosed amount of cash” and acknowledged that the Houston Police Department has been notified.
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found,” the statement read.
“Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation.
“Lakewood has no further comment at this time.”
It is unclear at the time of this reporting just how much cash was recovered or whether the discovery is related to the 2014 burglary.
At the time, the Houston Police Department said that at least $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from the church’s safe.
The church in 2014 issued the following statement to parishioners:
We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend. This includes cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information, and it is limited only to those funds contributed in the church services on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014. If you made a contribution during these weekend services, we would encourage you to pay close attention to your accounts over the next several days and weeks and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution or credit card company immediately. It is important to note this was not an electronic data breach, but was instead limited to donations made in the services on March 8 and 9, 2014. You were not affected if you put your offering in a drop box, you gave online or through other electronic means, or you made a bookstore purchase. We are working with the police to fully investigate the incident. The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church.
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