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A New Angle

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A plumber who found stacks of checks and cash inside an area of the celebrity preacher Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church last month has been given $20,000. The money was arranged by Crime Stoppers of Houston.

The envelopes were found behind an unfinished toilet by the plumber as he was working on repairs at the Houston church on the morning of Nov. 10, 7 years ago, the same day that the parish had reported that $600,000 worth of cash and checks were taken from the safe.

“Evidence from the recovered checks suggests that the discovery of was connected to the March 2014 theft,” Crime Stoppers of Houston announced in an announcement. It is believed that the Houston Police Department is still conducting an investigation into the incident.

Joel Olstean

In the past, Crime Stoppers of Houston offered the possibility of cash rewards up to $5,000. Lakewood Church added a supplemental reward of $20,000 making the total $25,000 for anyone who had the information leading to the arrest of. After a long time of no news regarding the case, Lakewood turned that sum into a donation to Crime Stoppers of Houston.

In the wake of the revelation of the money of the wall behind the church, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious contacted for the Crime Stoppers Executive Committee if Crime Stoppers could donate $20,000.00 towards “that “Good Samaritan” who turned into the cash and received the approval in the report.

“In 2014, Lakewood Church gave us $20,000 to work on this case. In 2016, they chose to gift us those funds for operations,” Mankarious wrote in his statement. “Today, we are gifting that same [amount] of money to this Good Samaritan and wishing he and his family a wonderful holiday season.”

“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,” she added.

The plumber who made the discovery, Justin Cauley, said, “This money is going to help tremendously.”

“Bills are stacking up,” he declared. “I’m trying to make the best of it, and today, the light shined through.”

“In 2016 Lakewood Church made a $20,000 donation to charity Crime Stoppers of Houston to assist in solving this case and also to help them with all the work they provide to the community. We appreciate the plumber’s generosity and hope that he will pay the donation forward.”

The Houston Police Department said in the last release last week “an undisclosed amount of money was inventoried, documented and left in the custody of Lakewood Church since it was property found on its premises.”