Houston Police investigators are looking for clues after it appears someone broke into a safe at Lakewood Church and walked away with nearly 6-hundred thousand dollars in donations. Two hundred thousands of it is believed to be cash.
The donations were from services on Saturday March 8th and Sunday March 9th.
The heist wasn’t discovered until 8:30 a.m. Monday morning when an employee of Lakewood Church and an off duty Harris County Sheriff’s Officer working security noticed the break in.
Right now investigators think the heist happened sometime between 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon and Monday morning when it was discovered.
The donations were from services PM Saturday March 8th and Sunday March 9thand included donations made by checks and credit cards along with the cash donations.
Lakewood is asking anyone who attended services this weekend and made an offering by check or credit cared to pay close attention to those accounts and immediately report any suspicious activity.
Lakewood stresses this was not a data breach but says the theft was limited to donations made in the actual services. The church sent this email to members notifying them of the theft.
Monday, March 10, 2014
We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend. 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. If you made a contribution during these weekend services, we would encourage you to pay close attention to your accounts over the next several days and weeks and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution or credit card company immediately.
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. 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. We are working with the police to fully investigate the incident. The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact our Customer Service Department at 713-491-1506. The integrity of our congregants’ information is of utmost importance to us. And, we would like to thank you for your continued support.
Nearly 45-thousand people attend services weekly at Lakewood Church with the largest attendance happening on the weekends. Lakewood Church is lead by Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen. Weekly services from the church are broadcast around the world.