Money Found by Plumber at Joel Osteen’s Church Is Tied to 2014 Burglary, Police Say

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Cash Discovered by Plumber at Joel Osteen’s Church Is Tied to 2014 Housebreaking, Police Say

Seven years in the past, Lakewood Church, the Houston megachurch led by Joel Osteen, the outstanding televangelist, reported that $200,000 in money and $400,000 in checks had been stolen from a church secure.

Final month, the cash could have been found — not by detectives or church personnel, however fairly by a plumber fixing a rest room inside a church lavatory.

The plumber revealed the invention on Thursday when he known as right into a Houston radio present.

“There was a free bathroom within the wall, and we eliminated the tile,” he stated on 100.3 FM’s morning present. “We went to go take away the bathroom, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall.”

His response? “Oh, wow.”

The plumber stated he contacted a upkeep supervisor after which gave the church the envelopes. On Friday, the Houston police confirmed that the cash seemed to be linked to the 2014 theft.

In a statement on Twitter, the division stated that officers responded to a report of property found on the church on Nov. 10 and have been instructed by church members {that a} “giant sum of money, together with money, checks and cash orders” had been discovered inside a wall throughout a renovation undertaking.

Housebreaking and theft investigators responded and an undisclosed sum of money was inventoried, documented and left within the custody of the church because it had been discovered on Lakewood’s property, the police stated.

“Proof from the recovered checks suggests this November case is linked to a March 9, 2014 theft report of undisclosed quantities of cash on the church,” the police stated, including that the investigation was persevering with.

In a press release, Lakewood Church confirmed the invention.

“Not too long ago, whereas restore work was being accomplished at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of money and checks have been discovered,” the church stated. “Lakewood instantly notified the Houston Police Division and is aiding them with their investigation. Lakewood has no additional remark presently.”

Mr. Osteen is among the many nation’s best-known televangelists, and his church, which holds companies within the former Compaq Middle, as soon as residence to the Houston Rockets, seats about 16,000 folks. Earlier than the pandemic, the church had been drawing a median of about 42,000 folks to companies each week, in accordance with a church spokesman.

The 2014 theft from the church’s secure was found by a church worker, a Houston police spokesman instructed The Houston Chronicle that 12 months.

Lakewood Church stated in a press release on the time that the “funds have been absolutely insured, and we’re working with our insurance coverage firm to revive the stolen funds to the church,” the newspaper reported. The church and Crime Stoppers of Houston had supplied $25,000 for data that led to the arrest of these chargeable for the theft, in accordance with The Chronicle.

The plumber, who recognized himself solely as Justin, revealed that he had discovered the cash when he known as “The Morning Bullpen with George Mo and Erik” on Thursday.

The hosts had requested callers to share tales of the dear issues that they had discovered and had fielded calls a few misplaced wedding ceremony ring and a $100 invoice once they heard from the plumber, in accordance with George Lindsey, a bunch of the present.

“It was essentially the most distinctive and unimaginable cellphone name I’ve had in my 25-plus 12 months radio profession — definitely,” Mr. Lindsey stated in an interview on Friday. He stated the present went to a industrial break to verify that the caller wasn’t pulling a prank after which let the plumber inform his story on air.

“I want we had video of all of our faces as he was telling the story as a result of it was like: Are you kidding me?” Mr. Lindsey stated, including that the 2014 theft was “huge information” in Houston.

Through the name, the plumber famous that there was a $25,000 reward supplied, saying with fun, “I want some compensation.” He stated he by no means considered pocketing any of the envelopes.

“I’m an sincere man,” he stated.

Rania Mankarious, chief government of Crime Stoppers of Houston, stated $20,000 of the reward had been supplied by Lakewood Church, which donated the cash to Crime Stoppers after a 12 months handed with no breaks within the case.

The group nonetheless has a $5,000 reward for the case, she stated, however the cash can be given just for data that helped investigators determine, cost or arrest a suspect.

Somebody who discovered the cash wouldn’t qualify for the reward, except the invention led the police to a suspect, she stated.

Mr. Lindsey stated he believed that the plumber was annoyed that he hadn’t heard something from the church or the police since he discovered the stash on Nov. 10.

“No one stated thanks,” Mr. Lindsey stated. “No one has stated a phrase to this man. He has solved a case that has been on the books for seven years.”

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