Taft, California

From San Francisco’s SFGate.com of July 27, 2007

Pistol Packing Pastor Nabs Theft Suspect

A former Bakersfield police officer turned pastor helped nab a man who allegedly stole a car from his church’s parking lot.

James Kilgore, pastor at Taft Free Will Baptist Church, said he always keeps a gun and handcuffs in his fanny pack. They came in handy on Tuesday, when one of his elderly parishioners left Bible study to find his car had vanished.

Kilgore and Walter Brenton, 72, drove around looking for Brenton’s 1986 Ford Crown Victoria, and spotted the alleged thief driving it a few blocks away.

The pastor followed the driver until he crashed, tackled him as he crawled out of the car and then handcuffed him until police arrived on the scene.

Ronald Lee Allen, 46, of Taft, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and being in possession of stolen property, said Kern County sheriff’s Sgt. Martin Downs.

“We don’t recommend that people try to apprehend suspects, although in this case it worked out really well,” Downs said.

Kilgore said he was glad to put his law enforcement training to use, but said it was likely God had a role in helping him restrain the suspect.

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