The penalty for individuals suspected of stealing a motorcycle in Puebla can be harsh: a lynching by mob, no trial necessary.
That was the fate of the president of the municipal electoral council of Chalchicomula de Sesma.
For reasons yet to be explained, Gaspar Palacios Monterrosas was in the neighboring municipality of Tlacotepec de Benito Juárez on Tuesday when he has fingered by a group of residents for attempting to steal a motorcycle.
Two people came out in his defense, but their claims fell on deaf ears and a mob of about 100 people gathered and started beating the public servant. By the early hours of the next day Palacios was dead after reportedly being burned alive.
A motorcycle and a car were also torched during the incident.
State investigators are looking into the case and seeking to clarify what Palacios was doing in Tlacotepec in the first place.
His last known whereabouts before his fateful visit to Tlacotepec were in the neighboring municipality of Tehuacán earlier this week.
The State Electoral Institute (IEE) lamented the death of its associate and said it believed it was unrelated to the electoral process. The municipal electoral council he presided over continues to function normally, it said.
Two other lynching incidents have been reported in Puebla during the past week. Last Saturday, a mob in Yehualtepec set fire to police headquarters before kidnapping, beating and lynching four alleged thieves.
Three days later, four men were accused of trying to rob a propane delivery truck. They had better luck: despite a mob demanding their heads, they were kept alive within police headquarters.
Source: El Universal (sp)