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'I'll burn your faces off': Pair used blowtorch to steal hammocks, charges say

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A group of friends hanging out at a south Minneapolis park late one night were accosted by a man armed with a blowtorch, who used it to sever the ropes suspending their hammocks.

The group was at Triangle Park by Lake Nokomis at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, when they were approached by a man – later identified as Andrew Sobaski – bearing a blowtorch who said he was going to "burn your faces off."

According to a criminal complaint:

"Victims scattered but remained close enough to observe that the man was accompanied by a female accomplice and the man used the blowtorch to burn ropes suspending victims' hammocks. The woman then shined a flashlight on the ground while the man gathered the victims' property."

Sobaski, 28, of Minneapolis, and his alleged accomplice, Johnna Vanguilder, 29, of St. Paul, were tracked down after members of the community began blogging about the incident, including general descriptions of the suspects.

A neighbor observed people matching the descriptions on Aug. 4 and reported it. Vanguilder and Sobaski – who lives near the park on the 5500 block of 14th Ave. S – were detained by officers.

Police found a Starbucks gift card and a can of Deep Woods Off insect repellent, both of which were among items stolen from the group on July 31.

The pair have both been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and are being held in jail awaiting a court appearance on Sept. 27.

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