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Over half a million dollars stolen from Lakewood Church

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The Houston Chronicle reported today that about half of a million dollars was stolen from Lakewood Church in Houston,Texas on Sunday. Although the official amount has not been calculated, they have estimated it to be around $600,000.

Lakewood Church, where Joel Osteen is pastor, reportedly has been working with the Houston Police department on the case.

Cash and checks - along with written credit card information – were stolen according to an email sent by church leaders to members. A church employee made the discovery Monday morning.

Anyone who made contribution on March 8 and 9, have been encouraged to monitor their bank account for fraudulent activity. However, the church reiterated that this is not a breach in the church's electronic data system. All credit card information stolen, was hand written.

"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.

A non-denominational house of worship, Lakewood Church holds the largest congregation in the United States. The church averages 43,500 attendees each weekend. The Houston, Texas mega-church was founded by John Osteen, Pastor Joel Osteen's late father.

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