Crime | December 4, 2021 1:59 pm

Plumber Finds Cash-Filled Envelopes in Joel Osteen’s Houston Church

The church had reported a theft seven years earlier

Lakewood Church
Lakewood Church in Houston, where Pastor Joel Osteen preaches to some 25,000 people each week.
Timothy Fadek/Corbis via Getty Images

As anyone who’s ever handled plumbing knows, you can find some unexpected things when looking around behind walls and around pipes. That being said, envelopes full of cash are generally not among the objects that turn up when doing that kind of work — especially not when it’s being done in a church. And yet, that’s precisely what a plumber working at Lakewood Church, the megachurch run by Joel Osteen, recently uncovered.

A new report from Houston news station KPRC offers more details on the find — and raises questions about whether or not it was connected to a burglary at the same megachurch seven years ago. As per the report, a plumber called in to local radio station 100.3 The Bull to describe his discovery.

“There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,” the plumber said. “We went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall.” Those envelopes turned out to be full of cash and checks, which the plumbers then handed off to the megachurch’s maintenance supervisor.

A trove of cash in a megachurch’s bathroom wall is strange enough, but there’s another factor that makes this even more complex. Seven years earlier, Lakewood Church reported that $600,000 had been stolen — and police have never found an answer to that particular mystery.

As the Associated Press recently reported, Houston’s police department is now looking into whether or not the money found behind the toilet is related to the missing $600,000. File this one under “this will be an excellent true crime podcast in a few years.”