A 17-year-old thug received a heavy dose of street justice when he tried to steal a bicycle this week according to police in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Investigators say that following the incident they have arrested two men and charged them with torturing and mutilation of the “poor boy”. Police said after the men captured the would be thief, they allegedly tattooed his forehead with the words, “I am a thief and a loser,” as punishment for the attempted theft.
The “victim” said he had begged the men for mercy, but when that failed, he said, “I asked them to make the tattoo on my arm but they said they would do it on my forehead and started laughing,” according to a report in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. “I begged them to break my arms and legs instead,” the boy added.
But the men would not be denied their idea of justice and carried out their threatened punishment. According to the boy’s family, he suffers from mental health problems, but they readily admit that he is also a drug user They believe he probably wanted the bike to sell or trade to support his habit.
The two men, Maycon Wesley Carvalho dos Reis, 27, and Ronildo Moreria de Araújo, 29, were identified by police after they uploaded a video of the incident online. In addition to the tattooing, Officers said the two men also cut the teen’s hair because he tried to comb it over his forehead in an attempt to hide the tattoo. Police say that both men have confessed to the crime during questioning.
Meanwhile, the family of the “victim” told reporters that the “child” went messing on May 31st and it was not until they recognized the boy from his captor’s video which was uploaded on Friday that they knew what had happened to him. After police were notified of the video, he was quickly reunited with his family on Sunday.
In an amazing act of kindness, an online crowdfunding campaign was launched by the Afroguerrila collective to raise money that would pay for the tattoo to be removed and that effort has already raised more than 19,000 reals ($5,800 U.S.). Sponsors of the effort say the money raised will pay for the tattoo’s removal, plus any legal fees in the case against the torturers. Any remaining funds will also be used to pay for psychological counseling and addiction treatment.
Eliana Rocha de Carvalho, the grandmother of the unidentified “victim” of the crime, told the newspaper, “I’m going to wipe his forehead clean, even if we have to live under a bridge.” Maybe they should just leave the Tattoo as a warning to others, and use the money to buy him a bike and some drugs. It would probably be a more effective solution.