Police: $600K in cash, checks stolen from Lakewood Church safe


by Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News


Posted on March 10, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 12:09 PM

Lakewood Church

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HOUSTON -- Officials at Lakewood Church say $600,000 in cash and checks was stolen from a church safe over the weekend.

Police said the thief got away with $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks. They also took offering envelopes that may include credit card information.

The mega-church, led by Joel and Victoria Osteen, did not indicate how the safe was accessed but warned church goers Monday night to keep an eye on their financial accounts.

The church sent this letter out to members:

”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.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact our Customer Service Department at 713-491-1506. The integrity of our congregants’ information is of utmost importance to us. And, we would like to thank you for your continued support"

Officials said the money was insured.

People who are fans of the church were upset to hear the news.

"That's just really sad that anyone would want to steal from any kind of church or organization, but also, from Joel Osteen." said Grace Neill, a woman visiting from San Antonio.

"I hope they find some peace with what they're looking for, if they really needed it." said Yadira Salazar, a church member.

Police will be looking at surveillance video from inside of the church.