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Ceres pastor robbed of car, wallet at gunpoint
Pastor Ted Baze
Pastor Ted Baze of the Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Tuesday evening, April 2, scare that Ted Baze, pastor at the Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church, endured is one he never wants to experience again.

At approximately 9:50 p.m., he had just left a late meeting at church and was walking to his 2014 Kia Soul parked on the street when he saw the back window of his car broke out and two men springing out from behind the car, one pointing a gun.

They demanded his keys, wallet and the computer he was carrying. He complied, the robbers took his possessions, and they drove off down Central Avenue in an unknown direction.

“It was not what I expected,” said Pastor Baze. 

The men had apparently been trying to hotwire the Kia before Baze showed up. Baze would later learn that the Kia is a favorite target of thieves.

“I valued my life and didn’t need any more holes in me,” said Baze.

It didn’t take long for church members to find out what happened to their pastor, who has been at the church for 11 years.

“It’s shaken a lot of people up.”

He said that given the folks who also left the meeting, “I’m glad it was me as opposed to one of my other members that would have been harder on themselves.”

One person who notified the Courier of the crime emailed: “It’s sad when we can’t feel safe in our own neighborhoods. I don’t let my kids play in our own yard without an adult outside at all times. Homeless roaming all over, stealing bikes right out of people’s yards. It’s ridiculous and frustrating. Police need to crack down on the crime. This church is down the road from my house, so I know how ghetto the area is!”

Pastor Baze downplayed the problems with crime, saying he’s had to run homeless persons off the church property in recent years.

The good news is that the pastor’s car has been recovered by Modesto Police and is in the shop undergoing repairs covered by the insurance company.

Ceres Police still hope to identify and arrest the two robbers, who were black and wearing all black clothing and in their 20’s or 30’s. Anyone with information is encouraged to call contact Detective Matt Berlier at 209-538-5616.