A plumber from Houston, Texas, while repairing a toilet at the Houston church in November, has discovered thousands of envelopes stuffed full of cash and checks inside a bathroom wall.
The plumber, whose name is Justin, told the local radio station that there was a loose toilet in the wall and that they removed the tile, after which they went to go remove the toilet, and when they moved some insulation away, about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall. ‘Oh, wow!'” was his first reaction, he said.
Justin said that he immediately contacted his supervisor and reported that he’d discovered a horde of cash-stuffed envelopes during his work at the church.
“I went ahead and contacted the maintenance supervisor that was there, and I turned it all in,” Justin explained.
A spokesperson for Lakewood Church confirmed in a statement the discovery of an “undisclosed amount of cash” and acknowledged that the Houston Police Department has been notified.
“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 read.
It is still not clear how much cash was recovered or whether the discovery is related to the 2014 high-profile burglary when the church announced that at least $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from the church’s safe, but no arrests were made at the time and the money was reportedly not recovered.
Here is the full statement addressed to the parishioners from the church in 2014:
“We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend. This includes cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information, and it is limited only to those funds contributed in the church services on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014. If you made a contribution during these weekend services, we would encourage you 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. It is important to note this was not an electronic data breach, but was instead limited to donations made in the services on March 8 and 9, 2014. You were not affected if you put your offering in a drop box, you gave online or through other electronic means, or you made a bookstore purchase. We are working with the police to fully investigate the incident. The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church.“