Christmas has come early for Lakewood Church, the Houston-based congregation led by Pastor Joel Osteen.
This week, a plumber doing repair work in a bathroom at the church’s facility called into a morning show on the radio station 100.3 The Bull to tell DJ George Lindsey he found 500 envelopes filled with cash when he moved insulation behind a toilet. The money, he said, just fell out of the wall, according to KPRC-TV.
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“There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,” the plumber told Lindsey. “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 man said he immediately contacted the maintenance supervisor, who took the envelopes.
“It was just unbelievable!” the DJ said of the plumber’s discovery. “The things he was telling us that they found in the walls.”
It’s possible the bounty of cash is tied to a yet-to-be solved burglary reported by Lakewood in 2014.
At the time, the Texas megachurch reported some $600,000 worth of tithes and offerings were stolen during weekly church services on Saturday, March 8, and Sunday, March 9, 2014, KHOU-TV reported.
Had it not been for the plumber, Lindsey argued, the church might never have known about the money hidden in its walls.
“This sounds like a movie,” the radio jockey told the local news outlet. “This is crazy.”
As for Lakewood, the church released a statement this week, telling reporters church leaders have shared the information with the Houston Police Department and are cooperating with their investigation into the matter.
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found,” the church stated. “Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation. Lakewood has no further comment at this time.”
Seven years ago, when the money first went missing, Osteen’s church said staffers were “heartbroken” by the crime and urged the congregation of some 40,000 people “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.”
“We are working with the police to fully investigate the incident,” the church stated in 2014. “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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