Peter said:Burglary is a crime and should be punished by law.
Assault is a crime and should be punished by law.
The authorities can not allow vigilantes to take the enforcement of the law into their own hands, that is the responsibility of the police force. If we permit such vigilante attacks to continue, then we render the police and the justice system redundant and possibly even the Government may become useless as the country decends into anarchy, which is why these four chaps will be made an example of. The correct procedure that they should have undertaken would be to inform the police of their suspicions and allow the police to conduct an official investigation.
However, because they initiated the attack it can be construed as assault, and it will be very easy for the burglar to assume the position of the victim, therefore, he will walk away Scot free.
Where this theory fall flat on its face is for those who belong to minorities who have every reason to remain mistrustful of the police and in any event still do. If you belong to one of these minorities (as I do) you are faced with two options: put up with it (as I've learned to do) or take the law into your own hands.
So you see there are times when vigilantism is necessary as a deterrent - but as a matter of policy is must be strongly resisted! If you engage in vigilantism you must be prepared to suffer the consequences! And the punishment ought be custodial to act as a warning to others!