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Duluth trio jailed in case of alleged vigilante justice

Vladimir Vladimirovic Brik and two accomplices allegedly were looking for some vigilante justice on New Year's Day in Duluth.

They got it in brutal fashion, according to a criminal complaint filed against them Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court.

The complaint states the 20-year-old Brik used a knife to carve a 10-inch "X" on a man's chest, poured charcoal lighter fluid on the victim, stuffed a lighter-fluid-soaked rag in his mouth and threatened to set him on fire in an apartment at 721 W. Third St., where the victim had gone to pick up some type of pills to sell for quick cash.

The victim told Duluth police that he and another man had stolen some items from Brik's residence on Friday. He believed his assault was in retaliation for the theft. He said he was able to negotiate his release from Brik by promising him to return a 55-inch television, an Xbox, two laptop computers, an electronic keyboard and a wireless router stolen from Brik's residence at 2324 Pershing St.

Police said burglary charges are pending against both assault victims in the case.

The second victim told police that he was in his apartment at 721 W. Third St. when Brik and alleged accomplices Samson Siokivaha Ofanoa, 22, of Duluth and Quade Allen Ojibway, 20, of Duluth kicked in his doors and began to beat him. He said he was kicked and punched in the face, dragged out of bed and into a car. He said he blacked out and woke up at Brik's residence.

He said Brik asked him "which hand do you write with?" He put out his right hand and Brik took out a black buck-style knife and slashed him across the palm of his hand. He said Brik also slashed him across his right ear to his cheek. He said the men continued to assault him and Brik said, "You are going to have them bring my stuff back." The victim agreed and the assault ceased.

Both men were treated and released from a local hospital.

St. Louis County prosecutor Kristen Swanson asked the court to set bail at $150,000 for Brik.

"The savage nature of the assaults on these two individuals, along with the fact that the defendant has extensive family connections outside of the United States, gives the state concern not only for public safety but the defendant's willingness to reappear voluntarily for subsequent court proceedings," Swanson said.

Sweetland granted Swanson's request.

Police were unable to provide any information regarding possible ties the defendants might have outside of Duluth.

Ofanoa is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, kidnapping and two counts of third-degree assault. He's being held in the St. Louis County Jail on $100,000 bail.

Ojibway is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, kidnapping and two counts of third-degree assault. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

Duluth police spokesman Jim Hansen said police are still investigating the motives behind the crimes.