Texas plumber repairs church, finds large sum of money stolen in wall

A worker at Lakewood Church, which is pastored by renowned televangelist Ernest Osteen, found a large amount of cash, checks and money orders inside the toilet tiles during renovations.

Lakewood Church (Texas) found $600,000 worth of cash and checks in the bathroom tiles while repairing plumbing. Sources said the church had stolen the money seven years ago, and now the money has finally seen the light of day.

NBC and the New York Times reported that the Houston Police Department confirmed on the 3rd that the cash and checks buried in the tiles may be the property stolen from the church’s safe deposit box in 2014. The police tweeted that they received a request for help from Lakewood Church last month, saying that workers found “a large amount of cash, checks and money orders” in the toilet during the renovation of the church.

During the investigation, agents counted the property and checked previous years’ records to confirm the origin of the money before returning it to the church for safekeeping. According to the information on the recovered check, the property, which was hidden in the tiles, is believed to have been stolen in 2014, police said.

It is understood that the church’s safe was hiding $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks that year, but the property disappeared on March 9, 2014, and the case was not solved for years until now.

The church said the plumber found multiple envelopes with cash and checks hidden inside the tiles close to the toilet, so the church was notified and the clergy then contacted the Houston Police Department and assisted authorities with the investigation.

The plumber in the incident also came forward. He called Houston radio station on the 2nd, said he was in Lakewood Church last month 10 during maintenance, see the wall of the toilet has been loose, so remove the surrounding tiles to check, but after moving the wall filler material, about 500 envelopes fell on their feet. The plumber said he immediately contacted the construction supervisor and then gave all the envelopes to the church, not knowing how much money was hidden inside. The worker stressed that he was honest and never wanted to keep the money for himself. For the 25,000 yuan reward offered by the authorities, he only said blandly that he did “need some compensation”.

Due to the unbelievable circumstances, the radio host interrupted the call to make sure the plumber was not a prank before continuing the interview.

Lakewood Church holds weekly services at the Compaq Center, former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and is pastored by Joel Osteen, a well-known televangelist. Before the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, the church drew an average of more than 42,000 people to worship each week.