Written by 4:53 am In the News

Plumber finds loot in church

A plumber working at Joel Osteen’s mega-church in Houston has found a large amount of money hidden inside a wall seven years after $600,000 was reported stolen during a break-in.

The plumber, who identified himself only as Justin, called into a KILT-FM morning show to recount how he found envelopes full of cash and checks inside a wall while doing work at the Lakewood Church, which is led by Osteen and his wife, Victoria.

“There was a loose toilet in the wall and we removed the tile,” the plumber said. “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.'”

The caller said he contacted the maintenance supervisor and turned the money in.

Officers were called to the church to investigate the discovery, 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 Lakewood Church confirmed the discovery in a statement provided to KHOU-TV. The amount of the discovered money was not disclosed.

“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 has no further comment at this time,” the statement said.

Police said that evidence from the recovered checks suggests that the envelopes are connected to the March 9, 2014, theft of money from the church.

Burglary and theft investigators inventoried, documented and left the money in the custody of the church since it had been found on Lakewood’s property, the police said.

Joel Osteen is lead pastor at Lakewood which is one of the largest churches in the United States. Services regularly draw more than 50,000 people a week and Osteen’s televised sermons are viewed by millions of people across the world every week.

(With inputs from UPI)

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