MADRID (Reuters) - A mob of 400 people burned the house and cars of a Spanish villager known as the "Bald One" on New Year's Eve, claiming revenge for seven years of his threats and violence against locals, a newspaper reported Monday.
Javier Bernui often went into bars and supermarkets in the central village of Villaconejos, 35 miles from Madrid, with a pistol or a knife, mayor Lope Benavente de Blas told Spanish daily El Pais.
"He would take what he wanted and never paid anything. He had been in prison," said Benavente de Blas. "Bernui didn't hesitate to use violence against the residents in bars, drove his car wherever he liked and did whatever he felt like."
On December 23, Bernui entered a bar, thumping the bar and pushing other customers aside. A man told Bernui enough was enough and gave him a beating.
Bernui responded by returning a week later with a number of friends to destroy the bar.
The attack was the last straw for some 200 of Villaconejos's 3,400 residents, who went to Bernui's house later that day. Civil Guard police contained the crowd and arrested Bernui when he fired two shots, one at the ground and another into the air.
But 400 villagers returned the next day, setting fire to Bernui's home, garage, two cars, a van, two quad bikes and a motorbike and blocking the path of firefighters.
Three elderly people and a pregnant woman were at Bernui's home but were evacuated by police and no one was hurt.
"It was all of us. It was the people," declared the mayor, who said he alerted police when he heard villagers were going to approach Bernui's house.
A police spokesman confirmed Bernui's arrest and said an investigation into the burning of his property had begun. He declined to say whether other arrests had been made.