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Man who found stacks of cash inside Houston church receives $20,000 reward

Cash money
Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 14:34:40-05

According to ABC 13 Houston, the "Good Samaritan" plumber who made the discovery of a stolen $600,000 at Lakewood Church and turned in the money has now received a $20,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious told ABC 13:

"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."

The Houston news station says Lakewood Church is not commenting further.

The man who discovered stacks of cash and checks neatly stacked inside a wall at Lakewood Church tells a Houston television station he hasn’t heard from anyone at the megachurch.

“I wanted to hear [Lakewood pastor Joel Osteen] say, ‘You know, Justin, what you did was right. We understand what you did and what you could have done,’” the man told KPRC.

The man told the station says he listened closely to Lakewood's Sunday’s service, hoping Osteen would address his good deed.

Instead, the pastor reportedly didn’t say one word about the recovery about the entire incident.

“I feel like, at this point, I should have heard something,” the man told KPRC. “I’m just a little upset.”

Houston police tell KPRC that the discovery is linked to the case back in 2014 after someone stole $600,000 out of the church’s safe.

Longtime parishioner, Benito Rodriguez, says this new discovery leaves him with more questions.

“I was discouraged the first time,” Rodriguez told KPRC in discussing the 2014 theft. “I was discouraged and now I am more discouraged because they found it. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The Good Samaritan told KPRC he’s still trying to make sense of everything.

During the original theft investigation, Crime Stoppers offered a $25,000 reward but the statute of limitation for the crime and reward is up.