A 61-year-old St. Paul man who was looking out for a neighbor ended up being beaten and having his car stolen early Tuesday morning on the East Side.

The man was driving home near the intersection of Duluth and Magnolia, police said, when he saw two young men "messing with" a neighbor's car. After the man circled the block, he saw the suspects walking away, said police spokesman Steve Linders.

So he stopped, lowered his window and asked the men what they were doing. At first, Linders said, they ignored him. But when he persisted in questioning them, one of the suspects took a red flashlight and began banging on the passenger window of the man's car. Then one of them reached into the car "to grab stuff," Linders said.

So the man put the car in park and got out, at which point he was attacked by the suspects. In the struggle, he fell and they kicked him several times. They then stole his car.

At about 6 a.m. Wednesday, police spotted a 1993 red Ford Explorer "driving erratically" near University Avenue and Fairview, Linders said. The car and license plate matched the car that was stolen. Police stopped the car after it pulled into the parking lot of the McDonald's at Unversity and Marion. The two suspects from the incident -- a 16-year-old male and a 19-year-old man -- were arrested without incident. Two passengers in the back seat were released.

Police returned the car to its owner, who had refused medical treatment from the assault, Linders said.