Plumber Finds Cash In Walls Of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church

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Damir Mujezinovic

A plumber doing repair work at pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas found hundreds of envelopes of cash hidden in a wall.

The Houston Police Department was contacted to investigate the discovery, and soon confirmed that it is connected to the 2014 theft of funds from the church.

In 2014, about $600,000 -- $200,000 of which was in cash -- was taken from a church safe. The money, which also included $400,000 in checks, came from contributions given on March 8 and 9 that year.

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"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 Houston Police Department said in a statement supplied to CNN.

The church also confirmed the discovery in a statement, but couldn't provide additional details because the investigation is still ongoing.

"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."

Plumber Reveals Discovery

The plumber himself revealed the discovery on Thursday, when he called into The Morning Bullpen with George Mo and Erik radio show.

"There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile," the plumber, who identified himself as Justin, said.

"We went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall," he added, as reported by The New York Times.

The hosts were shocked and initially didn't believe the man. But after talking to him off air, they realized he was telling the truth.

Shocking News

One of the hosts, George Lindsey, told The New York Times that this "was the most unique and incredible phone call I have had in my 25-plus year radio career -- without a doubt."

"I wish we had video of all of our faces as he was telling the story because it was like: Are you kidding me?" he continued, noting that the 2014 theft was "big news" in the Houston area.

Lindsey added that the plumber joked about needing "some compensation." When asked why he reported the discovery to the authorities instead of taking the money, he said "I'm an honest man."


Unsplash | Mackenzie Marco

Crimestoppers of Houston had offered a $20,000 reward in 2014 for information leading to an arrest in the case, but the statue of limitation in this case has expired, so the award is no longer available.

According to Lindsey, the plumber did not receive an award for his discovery. In fact, he did not even get a thank you from the church or the police department.

"Nobody said thank you. Nobody has said a word to this guy. He has solved a case that has been on the books for seven years," the radio host explained.