Cash and checks, along with written credit card information, were stolen from Pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston Lakewood Church on Sunday, according to an email sent by church leaders to members on Monday.
Sometime Sunday evening, someone broke into the church’s safe and took the money. A church employee made the discovery Monday morning.
“We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend,” a note to church members read. “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.”
Lakewood Church encouraged those who made contributions to the church on March 8 and 9 to monitor their bank and credit card accounts closely for fraudulent charges.
The statement by the Church reiterated that this was not an electronic data breach, and it’s only limited to donations made during those services. They stated, if a church member put their contributions in a drop box or gave online they are not affected by the robbery from Sunday night.
Church members worried about their donations are asked to call Lakewood’s customer service line at 713-491-1506.
Houston’s KRIV-TV reported that the total amount stolen was around $600,000, although church officials said that the money in the safe was yet to be counted. Church leaders said they are not sure how the TV station reached the dollar amount reported.
“The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church,” according to the Lakewood statement.
Donald Iloff, Jr., a church spokesman, said Tuesday that he couldn’t comment further on the theft. “Lakewood Church is working in conjunction with the Houston Police Department to investigate this matter. We do not want to compromise the investigation by commenting at this time,” he told the Houston Chronicle.
Joel Osteen Resigns Hoax from Fake CNN, Drudge Report and Yahoo Headlines
Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman Leaves Crystal Cathedral to Start New Church
Creflo Dollar Church Shooting: Megachurch Gunman, Floyd Palmer Declines Court Appearance