A plumber who claims to have found wads of checks and cash inside a wall in Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston says he deserves an award for the finding as authorities believe it may be linked to a 2014 theft of over $600,000 from the church.
The plumber, who wishes to remain anonymous, discovered missing money in the Texas megachurch while working on a toilet on Nov. 10. After turning in the money, he went public with his finding during a radio interview on 100.3 The Bull with host George Lindsey.
After Houston Police said the checks he discovered appeared to be linked to the 2014 robbery, the unnamed plumber said in an interview with a local news outlet published this week that he thinks he should get something in return, although the case remains unsolved.
“I didn’t solve their case, but I solved very key important clues as to what could or may have happened there,” the plumber was quoted as saying. “I feel like I should get something. I feel like some type of reward should get offered to me.”
Houston Police believe the money found is linked to a March 2014 theft from a church safe. About $200,000 in cash along with $400,000 worth of checks reportedly went missing.
At the time of the 2014 robbery, Crime Stoppers had stated that anyone who provides any information leading to an arrest would receive a $25,000 reward.
Police say the investigation is ongoing. However, the statute of limitations on the felony theft case is now expired and the plumber may not be entitled to any reward money.
“That doesn’t preclude Lakewood from giving him a reward or a combination from HPD congratulating him on doing the right thing,” Deputy Director of Crime Stoppers Houston, Nichole Christoph, told ABC 15. “Unfortunately, Crime Stoppers is out of the picture at that point.”
The Houston Police Department said in a statement last Friday that evidence from checks recovered suggests they are connected to March 2014 theft. The checks, cash and money orders have been inventoried and left in the custody of Lakewood Church.