Megachurch Thieves Steal $600,000 From Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church

Tuesday, 11 Mar 2014 05:42 PM

By Angela Deines

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Thieves stole $600,000 from Lakewood Church, the megachurch in Houston led by Joel Osteen, by reportedly breaching a safe over the weekend. No arrests have been made.

"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,” according to a statement released by the church Monday. “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.”

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Church officials said the money was reported missing by a church employee Monday morning. About $200,000 of the money was cash while the rest was checks and credit card information taken from a safe, HKOU 11 News reported.

Those who made the donations with checks and credit cards are being advised to watch their bank statements carefully.

Osteen’s 43,000-member congregation is the largest in the U.S.

Ironcially, the Lakewood Church’s website home page features information posted Friday about the church’s financial ministry classes.

“One area where many people need a little encouragement is in their finances,” the post reads. “That’s why our Financial Ministry is designed to equip you with biblical knowledge and resources to achieve your financial goals or just help you set them! When you understand God’s priorities in spending, you can eliminate debt, build wealth, and discover the joy of giving while preparing for your future!”

Lakewood Church officials are continuing to work with police during the investigation and the insurance company that insures the church’s donations.

"Lakewood Church is working in conjunction with the Houston Police Department to investigate this matter," church spokesman Donald Iloff Jr. told The Houston Chronicle. "We do not want to compromise the investigation by commenting at this time."

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