Just hours after its pastor died, Central General Baptist Church was victimized on Tuesday, Nov. 19 in an apparent burglary at 944 Central Avenue.
Police were called at 10:51 a.m. after someone saw a man throw a bike over the fence of the church yard and slip into the yard. Instead of calling police immediately, a call was made to the key holder of the church, said Ceres Police Lt. Brent Smith. The church had been ransacked.
A computer, phone and toy cars were missing after the man left. He apparently left a pack of cigarettes and an empty beverage container at the church.
There was no available description of the thief.
Other noteworthy crimes in the area include the following:
• SUSPICIOUS FIRE: SOUTH MODESTO - Ceres and Modesto Regional Fire Authority firefighters battled a fire in a vacant single-story house at 1101 Alamo Avenue in south Modesto which is deemed suspicious.
The fire broke out at 7:22 a.m. on Sunday and caused an estimated $25,000 damage.
The first fire engine arrived in less than five minutes. A total of 22 firefighters attended to the fire and brought it under control within 10 minutes but the majority of the house was damaged.
No injuries were reported, said Modesto Division Chief Sean Slamon.
• WOMAN ARRESTED OVER STOLEN VEHICLE - Reports of a suspicious vehicle at Sixth and Park streets resulted in the arrest of a Ceres woman on possession of stolen property charges.
At 1:56 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, someone thought it odd that a green 1992 Honda Accord had been left in the area. Officer Jeremy Caron investigated and found that there was a trail of fresh oil droppings from the car leading to a nearby backyard at 3036 Fifth Street. The car had been stolen from Turlock but apparently stored in the backyard while it was stripped of parts.
Estelita Becerra, 29, admitted to Caron that someone had been stripping parts off the car in her yard but she would not give up the man's name. Becerra was arrested for possession of stolen property.
The Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force, or StanCATT, took over the investigation.
• FIGHT CALL LEADS TO STOLEN CAR ARREST - Reports of a male and female fighting at 1663 Central Avenue ended with the arrest of a woman on auto theft charges on Monday, Nov. 18.
Officers were dispatched to the location at 8:55 a.m. but learned on the way that a female left in a gray Toyota Forerunner.
Officer Greg Yotsuya located the Toyota in an alley and quickly learned that it was a stolen vehicle. The vehicle had plates from another stolen Forerunner.
Corryn Graves, 31, of Merced County, was sitting in the car. She said she was given the Toyota by a male but a check of the vehicle showed that there were only her clothes inside of it. The iPhone she possessed belonged to someone in Atwater who was victimized in a residential burglary.
Graves was arrested for possession of stolen property and auto theft.
• SIX ARRESTED IN DRUNKEN BRAWL - Hocus Ink Shop operators are in hot water over business license issues following an early morning fight in which six persons were arrested on public drunkenness and/or fighting charges.
The fight broke out at 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21 in front of the shop, 2701 Mitchell Road near the Ceres Post Office. When police arrived they found several persons in the street fighting. Officer Joe Wren began to break up the fight when one of the subjects turned on him. Coming to his aid was a California Highway Patrolman who happened to be rolling by. A party had started at the shop with 15-20 people who were all intoxicated.
Arrested were Jesus Gallegos, 21, of Ceres, for public drunkenness; Guadalupe Magana-Bustos, 22, of Ceres, for obstructing an officer and public drunkenness; Luis Ibarra Jr., 22, of Ceres, for fighting and public intoxication; Alexis Rodriguez, 21, of Ceres, for public drunkenness; Dario Mendoza, 28, of Ceres, for fighting, public intoxication and resisting or delaying an officer; and Alexis Burton, 19, of Modesto, for public intoxication and providing a false name to police.
"The owner was contacted and informed they would be talking to code enforcement regarding their business license," said Lt. Smith.
• CREDIT CARD FRAUD LANDS WOMAN IN JAIL - A 41-year-old Modesto woman was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 19 after she made a series of expensive food purchases at the Bamboo Reef restaurant, 1650 Hatch Road, with a stolen credit card.
The eatery had been victimized by the same woman who had placed an order for more food. Officer Luis waited for the woman to show up to pick up the food and was arrested. He arrested Arelia Avalos for burglary, petty theft and forgery charges.
Avalos received $74 worth of food on Nov. 3, $141.54 on Nov. 24 and ordered $67.31 on Nov. 19.
• DRIVER ARRESTED FOR DUI - Juan Ortega-Lepez, 26, of Ceres, was arrested Friday evening for drunken driving.
At 10 p.m. he was spotted at Mitchell and Fowler driving erratically in a 1988 Toyota Camry. A partial license plate was reported to police and Officer Luis spotted the car and stopped it.