If you get mugged in Naples, don't fight back.

An American tourist was beaten by an angry mob in the streets of the southern Italian city after he chased down two men who had just stolen his camera, police said Wednesday.

The tourist, identified by Italian police as 25-year-old Matthew Thomas Godfrey of Utah, was taking pictures of a church in central Naples Monday night, when two men snatched his camera and fled on a scooter.

The American chased the thieves into a narrow alley when a group of local residents attacked him with punches and kicks, allowing the muggers to escape, Naples police said in a statement.

Police arrived on the scene and took Godfrey to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Thanks to his description of the muggers, the suspects were later caught and police were working to identify the residents who took part in the assault.

The American could not be reached for comment. His Naples hotel said he had already left.

The brawl is not unusual in a city that has occasionally seen large groups of residents siding with suspected criminals.

Last year, a crowd of some 200 people threw stones, bottles and food at police injuring 12 officers who had attempted to arrest two men for stealing a motorcycle.

The arrest of the son of an alleged crime boss near Naples last year also sparked protests by residents, mainly women, who hurled objects and insults at police.

Naples Mayor Rosa Russo Jervolino offered an apology for Monday's assault on the American, which she said was "inexcusable."

"To those citizens who have attacked him I say that with their behavior they have given an uncivilized image of themselves and Naples," she was quoted as saying by daily Corriere della Sera.