By Steve Large

STOCKTON (CBS13) – It wasn’t a typical Easter Sunday after a Stockton pastor turned crime fighter, tackling a man he says broke into his church.

From delivering a sermon to dishing out some punishment, Stockton Baptist Church Pastor Steve Kihlthau had a different kind of message for the man who was allegedly breaking in numerous times. And his parishioners are just now learning their pastor can pack a punch.

“He was originally running toward me and we met on the grass and wrestled,” said Kihlthau.

After a fourth break-in at the church in a week, Pastor Steve Kihlthau cornered the alleged crook.

“I’m not recommending most people do it, I’m just telling you, and I’m not sure I would do it the same way next time. But I was more than up to here,” said Kihlthau.

The pastor pinned the man down and called 9-1-1.

“Even when Jesus used the phrase to turn the other cheek, he wasn’t talking about getting taken advantage of or, in this case, get beat up,” said Kihlthau.

Kihlthau started his Baptist church 25 years ago that has struggled through Stockton’s economic collapse, with some church members losing their jobs and homes.

“It’s been tough financially on all of us,” said Kihlthau.

But stealing is this pastor’s pet peeve.

“A thief is, to me, one of the lowest rungs of the ladder,” said Kihlthau.

The suspect is now in jail on charges of burglary and battery.

“I did pray for him this morning. I really did and I want his life to be turned around, but that’s going to take the Lord’s miracle because his life is a mess,” said Kihlthau.

Kihlthau says he suffered a few bumps and bruises. He is also a volunteer police chaplain and now has a whole new perspective on crime fighting.


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