The Houston Chronicle reports…
“Parishioners attending services at Houston’s Lakewood Church on Sunday lamented the theft of $600,000 in cash and checks from a church safe just a week earlier.
“It’s a disappointment,” Larry Zavala, a five-year member, said. “Even in the House of the Lord, it’s not safe.”
The Houston Police Department is investigating the theft of $200,000 in cash, $400,000 in checks and some handwritten credit card numbers from an office safe sometime March 9 or early March 10 when an employee discovered the money was missing.
“The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church,” Lakewood officials said in a statement last week.
With more than 40,000 members, the nondenominational megachurch led by pastor Joel Osteen boasts the largest congregation in the country.
One parishioner who declined to give her name said her surprise lessened the more she thought about it.
“When good people come to church, the devil comes, too,” she said. “You can’t say everybody who comes to church is a good person.”
The Garcia family from Victoria, who left home at 6 a.m. for the drive to Houston, said they, too, had heard the news.
“They think of it as a rich church. They ain’t gonna miss it,” Jess Garcia said. “Obviously it’s wrong.”
His wife, Kim Garcia, added: “All you can do is pray about that person because you don’t know what people go through or why they’d do something like that.”
As their son, 3-year-old Jesse James Garcia, hugged Kim’s leg, she said she was grateful the money was insured so ministries and outreach would not be affected.
“Everybody’s gonna want to throw the book at ’em, but if they knew Christ, they wouldn’t do that,” she said.
In an email to members and statements to the press, church leaders emphasized no electronic information was stolen and that the theft did not affect people who donated online or in drop boxes at the church. They asked that anyone concerned about their donation to monitor their bank accounts for fraudulent activity and to call Lakewood’s customer service line at 713-491-1506.”