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High School Football Star Suspected in String of Convenience Store Robberies

CERES -- He was a standout football player in Modesto; a talented young man who is now in deep trouble.

The Ceres Police Department has identified 18-year-old Davion Gates as the person they believe robbed a series of convenience stores earlier this week.

One robbery was caught on an AM-PM’s surveillance cameras located on 9th Street in Ceres. Investigators say Gates is seen motioning a handgun towards the clerk, who gives up two trays of cash. The robber stashes the loot in his pocket and walks away.

Gates is a standout football star at Modesto Christian High School who plays both defensive and offensive positions.

“We’re heartbroken over it,” said Jonathan Burton, the principal of Modesto Christian. “I mean, Davion is part of our family.”

Police have not released what led the suspected robber to steal from at least three convenience stores last Friday but were able to catch him quickly, largely impart to what he was wearing. The suspected robber was caught on camera not once but twice and each time he was wearing the same thing which gave him away.

Surveillance cameras recorded a man in a white mask and a black hoodie at the QuikStop on Service Road just moments after the AM-PM robbery.

The manager said she was very glad officers were able to catch the suspect because they were quite scared.

Gates is facing attempted robbery and robbery charges.

Despite the accusations against Gates, he’ll continue to receive support from Burton.

“That’s not the Davion we know. That’s also not the culture that our football coach instills in his players," Burton said.

Burton offers his prayers and mentorship to Gates and his family.

“We’ll walk through this in a way that will help him become a better man as he continues to grow,” he said.