The Texas church led by Joel Osteen had $600,000 in donations stolen and in reporting the theft they revealed the staggering amount of money was their total from just one weekend of services.
The televangelist’s church was targets sometime between the last service on Sunday night and 8.30am on Monday when an employee discovered the break in.
In addition to cash, the burglars took Lakewood Church’s checks and deposit slips that listed parishioners’ credit card information.
Any donations that were made online or via drop box were not taken, though the church did not state how much the untouched total amounted to.
‘We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend,’ read a note released to followers.
‘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.’
Fox News reported that the figure totaled $600,000. Lakewood Church itself chose not to release the numbers and said that the amount in the safe had not yet been counted so they are unsure how the figure was reached.
The donation funds are fully insured so Lakewood Church will not lose out on the funds.
‘Lakewood Church is working in conjunction with the Houston Police Department to investigate this matter. We do not want to compromise the investigation by commenting at this time,’ church spokesman Donald Iloff Jr. told The Houston Chronicle.
‘The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church.’
The Houston church has a weekly attendance of about 43,500 parishioners.
Services are held in an old sports arena which seats 16,800 at a time but that does not account for the thousands of viewers who watch during their live-streamed broadcasts which airs on Fox, ABC and USA networks depending on the region.
The donations may have been heightened last weekend in particular because it was the first Sunday of Lent.