A plumber doing work at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, discovered hundreds of envelopes containing checks and cash hidden in a wall behind a toilet.
The plumber, who has only been identified as “Justin,” called into a Houston morning radio show on Thursday after the show encouraged listeners to tell stories about finding valuable items, according to multiple reports.
Justin told 100.3 The Bull’s radio show that, as he was working at the Texas church on Nov. 10, “There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile.”
“We went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall,” he added. The man contacted a maintenance supervisor and turned in the envelopes of cash and checks.
Houston Police Department In a Friday statement, the confirmation was made that officers were called to the church last month after “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 discovery comes after hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen from Lakewood Church’s safe in 2014, including $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks, according to multiple reports.
Houston police confirmed in the Friday statement that “evidence from the recovered checks suggests this November case is connected to” the 2014 reported theft. An investigation by the police is continuing.
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Lakewood Church confirms the discovery of checks and cash to USA TODAY.
“Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation,” the church said in a statement on Friday.
Houston’s KPRC reported this week that the Crime Stoppers of Houston offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect at the time of the theft. But the organization told the outlet that the plumber would not receive the reward, citing the statute of limitations and other factors.