Lakewood Church officials are continuing to deal with a major robbery from Houston's internationally-known mega church. At least $600,000 was stolen from a church safe last weekend — $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks — as well as envelopes containing credit card information.
Officials at the mega-church, led by Joel and Victoria Osteen, are still not saying how the safe was breached but warned its church goers to keep an eye on their bank accounts.
According to KHOU Channel 11, the church sent this letter out to its more than 40,000 members on Monday night:
"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."
Houston Police Department spokesperson Victor Senties told the Chronicle that the robbery occurred sometime between early Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, when a church employee first discovered the money was missing. Senties declined to comment further on the matter.