Lakewood Theft and Church Security

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According to an email sent by church leaders to members on Monday, cash and checks as well as written credit card information – were stolen from Houston’s Lakewood Church on Sunday, 

Victor Senties, spokesman for the Houston Police Department, said $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from the church’s safe  sometime between early afternoon Sunday and Monday morning, when a church employee first discovered the money missing.

Senties declined to release further details about the robbery.

Lakewood said in a statement to its more than 40,000 church members Monday that cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information had been stolen.

This unfortunately address a potential issue in many churches which includes protocols and the importance of confidentiality.

Lakewood, which is led by Pastor Joel Osteen, encouraged those who made contributions to the church on March 8 and 9 to monitor their bank and credit card accounts closely for fraudulent charges.

This was data breach, and was only limited to donations made during those services. Further, if a church member put their offering in a drop box, gave online or through other electronic means, they are not affected by the robbery.

“The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church,” according to the Lakewood statement.

Donald Iloff, Jr., a church spokesman, said Tuesday that he couldn’t comment further on the theft.

“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,” he said.

Church members worried about their donations are asked to call Lakewood’s customer service line at 713-491-1506.

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