A mob on Tuesday hacked two gangsters to death and then burned their bodies at Karurumo village in Embu County.
Armed with pangas and other crude weapons, residents caught up with the suspects as they fled after a raid.
Two other suspected gangsters escaped with the crowd in hot pursuit.
Villages said the four stole from houses in the village during a night raid.
"The gangsters took us by surprise and stole our clothes and other valuables. Moments later, we gathered courage and ran after them," one said.
Another said, "We are tracking down the remaining two suspects so we can teach them a lesson."
County police commander silas Gicunge rebuked the residents for eliminating the suspects in the cruel manner.
"Those found to have killed the suspects, who are yet to be identified, will be dealt with ruthlessly after investigations are completed," he said.
He told the people to hand suspects over to police for questioning and arraignment.
The remains of the suspects were taken to Embu Level Five Hospital mortuary and an investigation opened.