Plumber who found money in Joel Osteen’s church gets $20K reward


NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 23: Joel Osteen hosts a special edition of Sirius XM’s Joel Osteen Live from Sirius XM Studios on Monday, October 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

HOUSTON (KIAH) — The plumber who discovered money in the wall of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church received a $20,000 gift from the Crime Stoppers of Houston.

In 2014, the church reported a theft of approximately $600,000 in cash and checks.

At the time, Crime Stoppers of Houston offered a cash reward of up to $5,000. Lakewood Church added a supplement reward of $20,000 yielding a potential reward of up to $25,000 for the person or persons with information leading to the identification, charging, and/or arrest in the case.

By 2016, Lakewood decided to shift that supplemental reward into a charitable donation to Crime Stoppers of Houston.

On Nov. 10, Houston police reported that during a renovation project, a plumber had discovered a large amount of money hidden in a wall. Evidence from the recovered checks suggests that the discovery was connected to the March 2014 theft. Police are still investigating.

On Friday, Dec. 3, as more details were revealed, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious began talking to Deputy Director Nichole Christoph, who also discussed the issues with their law enforcement partners. Mankarious also began asking the Crime Stoppers Executive Committee if the organization could gift $20,000, the amount originally given to Crime Stoppers by Lakewood, to the good Samaritan plumber who made the discovery and turned in the money.

On Tuesday, Mankarious received the approval to move forward with the gift.

Crime Stoppers of Houston is a public safety organization that thrives on the public safety of all communities. We believe that it takes all of us, working together, to keep Houston safe and thriving. In 2014, Lakewood Church gave us $20,000 to work on this case. In 2016, they chose to gift us those funds for operations. Today, we are gifting that same about of money to this Good Samaritan and wishing he and his family a wonderful holiday season.


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