Sweaty, Embarrassing Vigilante Justice For Chilean Thief Who Tried To Rob Elderly Man

A would-be thief in Santiago, Chile, found himself on the business end of vigilante mob justice after attempting to rob an elderly man with a knife, and found himself stripped naked and bound to a lamp post with cling-wrap, while onlookers took pictures of him and beat him, according to Metro.

The exact sequence of events that led to 32-year-old Valentino Abeyta Barrera being wrapped to a lamp post in cling-wrap, on a hot day (Santiago is in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s winter) with his underpants around his ankles is not clear. What is known is that he attempted to rob an elderly man with a knife. The next thing that is known for certain is that police showed up and found him wrapped to the pole, with a crowd surrounding him and taking pictures of him on their cell phones. The man begged police to free him; he said he had been like that for 20 minutes, according to The Mirror.

The thief refused to tell police what had happened to him, and only wanted to talk about being freed. Further, his victim refused to press charges against him. Since nobody wanted to talk, the police were forced to let the naked thief go, according to a Santiago police spokesperson.

“Unless the man who was tied to the lamppost or his alleged victim want to file a complaint, there is not much we can do.”

Photos of the thief’s plight were circulated on social media, and ignited a debate about the role of vigilante justice in Chile, according to the Mirror. Some commenters claimed that the mob taking justice into their own hands simply makes the crowd as bad as the criminal, while others suggested that this kind of mob justice points to a lack of faith Chileans have in their police and their justice system.

Commenter Daniela Montoya Pazo took the side of letting government justice taking its course, saying, via the Mirror, that the people in the crowd handing out vigilante justice are criminals themselves.

“They just had to arrest him, not beat him. This kind of things put us at the same level as the criminals.”

Commenter Daichi Yuka, however, said that he’d have done the same thing.

“I would like to do the same thing to the thief who threatened me with a weapon this morning.”

Do you believe the would-be thief got the justice he deserved?

[Image courtesy of: Daily Mail]