It’s a very Merry Christmas indeed for one Texas plumber.
Justin Cauley, the plumber who discovered hundreds of envelopes in a bathroom wall of Lakewood Church, was given a reward for handing over the stash of cash.
Lakewood Church is famously owned and operated by Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria.
Last week, The Blast reported on the discovery of hidden envelopes filled with cash and checks.
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Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church has secrets hidden in its walls
Cauley called into local radio station 100.3 The Bull on Thursday, December 2, and told the tale of the envelopes.
On November 10, he was doing some plumbing work at the mega-church when envelopes came plummeting out of a bathroom wall.
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“There was a loose toilet in the wall and we removed the tile … Went to go remove the toilet and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall, and I was like, ‘Oh wow,'” the plumber recalled.
He said he called the maintenance supervisor and turned the money in, and his good deed didn’t go unnoticed.
Cauley was rewarded a $20,000.00 check from Crime Stoppers.
Justin Cauley, aka The Plumber, gets generous reward!
Houston news station, KPRC 2, caught up with the plumber on-camera and asked about his reward.
“My heart stopped. I had no clue that that would come about,” he told KPRC. “You know bills are stacking up, like I say. Work is starting to get slow, so, I’m just trying to make the best of it and today that light shined through.
So, if Crime Stoppers awarded Cauley the money, why would he want to thank Joel and Victoria Osteen?
Here’s the thing, the rediscovered money is reportedly connected to a robbery the mega-church experienced back in March 2014.
When the money initially reported stolen, Crime Stoppers Houston offered a cash reward of $5,000.00. Lakewood Church offered an additional $20,000.00 reward; however, two years later the church decided to just donate the $20k to the organization.
Crime Stoppers took the money donated by Lakewood Church and gifted it to Cauley.
“It’s a bit of a blessing, you know, had you not of donated that money, I probably wouldn’t have been here today, and I want to thank you for that,” Cauley told KPRC.
Cauley thanks Joel Osteen for $20k reward
Police said the evidence from the recovered checks suggests that the envelopes are connected to the 2014 theft.
At the time of the alleged robbery, CNN reported that $600,000.00 was taken from a church safe.
The outlet reported $200k in cash and $400k in checks were stolen; however, that storyline has completely changed since the new discovery.
The money came from contributions given on March 8 and 9 of 2014 according to CNN.
The investigation is ongoing, but Lakewood Church confirmed the discovery in a statement given to CNN.
“Recently, while repair work was being done at Lakewood Church, an undisclosed amount of cash and checks were found,” the statement said. “Lakewood immediately notified the Houston Police Department and is assisting them with their investigation.”
On the day Cauley called into the radio station, and word got out about the hidden envelopes, Osteen tweeted, “If you believe the negative things people say about you, if you let circumstances name you, then you’re giving it the right to come to pass.”