'I am a thief': Brazilian tattoo artist brands young thief's forehead to teach him a lesson

The young thief was caught by a tattoo artist and his neighbour for allegedly trying to steal a bicycle in the area.
The young thief was caught by a tattoo artist and his neighbour for allegedly trying to steal a bicycle in the area. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SAO PAULO - A tattoo artist and his neighbour were arrested after taking justice into their own hands by inking "I am a thief" on a young thief's forehead. 

A video of the incident, which Brazilian media reported took place last Friday (June 9) in the municipality of Sao Bernardo do Campo, went viral and sparked an online debate over their actions.

Reports said the 17-year-old thief was caught by the pair trying to steal a bicycle in the area.

The artist, 29-year-old Ronildo Moreira de Araujo, then took matters into his own hands by inking a tattoo on the thief's forehead.

Ronildo's neighbour, Maycon Wesley Carvalho dos Reis, 27, filmed the act and uploaded the video online. Relatives then recognised the thief, who had been missing since May 31.

The video shows the embarrassed teenager sitting in a chair as Ronildo taunts him before committing what police called "an act of torture".

He is later seen with the Portuguese words "eu sou ladrao e vacilao", which means "I am a thief and loser" in English, scrawled across his forehead.

His whereabouts are currently not known, although Ronildo and Maycon told police that they released him after the incident.

Meanwhile, Brazilian news website Aconteceu no Vale reported on Sunday that an online campaign to raise money and pay for removal of the tattoo had been set up.

As of noon on Sunday, the campaign had raised close to 20,000 Brazilian real (S$8,400), exceeding its 15,000 Brazilian real target.