Only a few days ago, a plumber found money that went missing from Houston’s Lakewood Church seven years ago. The plumber turned the money in and was expecting a thank you from the Pastor, Joel Osteen, except Joel never reached out.
On November 10, 2021, Houston Police Department reported that during a renovation project at Lakewood. The plumber discovered a large amount of money hidden in a wall. The discovery was evidence from the March 2014 theft that Lakewood reported.
Due to the time from when the crime was reported, the statute of limitation for the crime had expired.
On Friday, as more information about the case came together, Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious discussed the case with Deputy Director Nichole Christoph.
Mankarious also asked the Crime Stoppers Executive Committee if the organization could gift $20,000, the amount originally given to Crime Stoppers by Lakewood, to the plumber who made the discovery and turned in the money. The Committee approved Mankarious request on Tuesday and passed the gift to the plumber.
The plumber who wishes to remain anonymous said:
“I wanted to hear [Joel Osteen] say, ‘You know, Justin, what you did was right. We understand what you did and what you could have done. I feel like, at this point, I should have heard something. I’m just a little upset.”
Even though the plumber wanted to remain anonymous, Washington Post shared his name as Justin Cauley.
Cauley told KPRC in his on-camera interview, “My heart stopped, needless to say. I had no clue that would come about.”
Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious added:
“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. In 2014, Lakewood Church gave us $20,000 to work on this case. In 2016, they chose to gift us those funds for operations. Today, we are gifting that same about of money to this Good Samaritan and wishing he and his family a wonderful holiday season.”
Lakewood responded to the news in a statement saying, “In 2016, Lakewood Church made a $20,000 charitable donation to Crime Stoppers of Houston to help solve this case and support them for all they do for the community. We are appreciative of the plumber and we hope he pays the gift forward.”
CrimeStoppers encourages anyone who has a tip about an unsolved crime to call 713-222-TIPS or report online at www.crime-stoppers.org. You can also report a tip with the Crime Stoppers Houston mobile app. Download “Crime Stoppers Houston” from the app store and it’s free.
Do you think Joel Osteen will reach out to the plumber and thank him?