(CNN) – A plumber doing repair work at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church found hundreds of envelopes with cash and checks hidden in a wall that police believe are related to a 2014 megachurch robbery. from Houston.
Agents were called to the church on Nov.10 to investigate the discovery, according to a statement from the Houston Police Department.
“Church members stated that during the renovation project, a large amount of money – including cash, checks and money orders – was found inside a wall,” the statement said.RELATED
Police said evidence from the recovered checks suggests the envelopes are related to the church’s theft of undisclosed amounts of money on March 9, 2014.
CNN reported at the time that approximately $ 600,000, $ 200,000 in cash and $ 400,000 in checks, were taken from a church safe. The money came from contributions delivered on March 8 and 9, 2014.
The robbery and robbery agents inventoried and documented the recovered money and left it in the custody of the church, because it was property found on its premises, according to the statement.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Lakewood Church confirmed the discovery in a statement provided to CNN, but did not provide additional information because the investigation is still active.
“Recently, while repair work was underway at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks was found,” the statement said. “Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation.”
News of the find was made public Thursday when a man who identified himself as the plumber called Houston radio station 100.3 The Bull and shared the story with the Morning Bullpen program.
“There was a loose toilet in the wall and we removed the tile … I went to remove the toilet and removed some insulation and about 500 envelopes fell off the wall, and I was like, ‘Oh wow,'” said the person on the call.
The caller said they contacted the maintenance supervisor and handed over the money.
Co-host George Lindsey told CNN they spoke to the man, who said his name was Justin, off the air to make sure it wasn’t a joke.
“I wish we had a video of our faces because we were all like, ‘Oh my God,’ Lindsey said. He said he was impressed that Justin did the right thing and handed over the money.”
“He could have hidden some of this money in his pocket and walked away and never said anything to anyone, but [él] He was an honest and correct guy, “Lindsey said.
Crimestoppers of Houston had offered a $ 25,000 reward in 2014 for information leading to an arrest in the case, but the organization says the money is no longer available because the statute of limitations has expired in the case.