Four suspected motorcycle thieves were shot to death by unknown gunmen in the Caribbean province of Izabal, Guatemala's national police reported Monday.

The four bodies were found on Sunday night along a highway leading to the Punta de Palma beach, a police spokesman told reporters.

The victims were identified as Angel Perez and Byron Sandoval, both 20, and Carlos Perez and Douglas Mendes, both 22.

Preliminary investigative work indicates that the four young men had stolen a motorcycle on the beach and its owners chased them until they caught up with them, whereupon they gunned them down.

The shooting victims were alleged members of a gang specializing in stealing motorcycles in the municipality of Santo Tomas de Castilla, according to information released Monday by police.

The presumed thieves had tattoos of marijuana leaves on their bodies and had served time behind bars for possession of drugs, committing assaults and being involved in fights.

Guatemala, where each day an average of 15 homicides are committed, is considered to be one of Latin America's most violent countries. EFE