Joel Osteen's church robbed of $600k
Megapastor Joel Osteen's Houston church was victim to a $600,000 robbery this week, as cheques and cash were stolen from a safe.
Lakewood Church is the largest Protestant church in the US, with an average weekly congregation of over 43,000 and services broadcast in over 100 countries around the world.
Osteen is also a bestselling author and televangelist, known to many as 'the smiling preacher'.
Collection money was placed in the safe as usual following last weekend's services, but an employee reported a break in on Monday. The Church was quick to release a statement in which they assured members that they are cooperating with the police and that the tithes were insured.
"We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend," the statement reads, noting that only cash, cheques and credit card information given during the Saturday and Sunday services had been stolen, and urging those affected to monitor their accounts for "suspicious activity".
"The integrity of our congregants' information is of utmost importance to us. And, we would like to thank you for your continued support," the statement concluded.
A total of $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in cheques were stolen, but as yet have not been recovered.