Two arrested after bloody assault, robbery in Brainerd dog park
BRAINERD, Minn. - Police here arrested a man Saturday wanted for his alleged involvement in an assault and robbery at Buster Park last month. Rickie Joseph Vukelich, 24, Nisswa, was arrested on the 1500 block of Mary Street Saturday afternoon aft...
BRAINERD, Minn. – Police here arrested a man Saturday wanted for his alleged involvement in an assault and robbery at Buster Park last month.
Rickie Joseph Vukelich, 24, Nisswa, was arrested on the 1500 block of Mary Street Saturday afternoon after a warrant for his arrest was issued for an incident that reportedly occurred April 8. Vukelich faces three felony charges and a misdemeanor charge for apparently beating a man and stealing his truck along with Kelsey Michelle Abel, 24, Nisswa, who was arrested for four felonies April 12 following a K-9 pursuit.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Vukelich, the incident was initially reported at 9:30 p.m., April 8, by a woman who described a suspicious man pounding on her door yelling for help on the 1500 block of Emma Street in Brainerd. While officers were en route, a second caller described witnessing a man walking near Jenny Street with a bloodied face and hands.
Officers located the man and observed he was bleeding from the nose and mouth and had bloody hands.
The man, later identified as the victim of an apparent assault and robbery, was holding his abdomen and asking for help. The sweatshirt he wore was splattered with blood and the victim appeared to be actively bleeding from his head.
The victim told officers he was jumped and his truck was stolen from the parking lot at Buster Park, the dog park near Kiwanis Park in Brainerd. He identified Abel and two unknown males as the assailants.
According to the victim, five minutes after he arrived at SuperAmerica gas station in his Chevrolet Silverado truck, another truck, a late-1990s blue Chevrolet, pulled up next to him. The victim observed Abel in the passenger seat and an unknown male driving the truck. Abel approached the victim, he said, opened the driver's door and told him, "Slide over, I'm driving." The victim said he did as Abel asked.
Abel allegedly told the victim she needed to get something at the dog park and drove there, parking in the lot nearby. The victim said Abel exited the vehicle and said, "Come on," but it was not directed at the victim. At this time, Vukelich allegedly walked up and joined Abel in the parking lot, causing the victim to feel scared and attempt to close the vehicle door.
An unknown male wearing a mask then shattered the passenger window with a crowbar, the victim said, and began to strike the victim in the head and torso multiple times.
The victim said he exited the vehicle through the driver's door and managed to evade Vukelich, but was stopped when Abel grabbed onto his clothing. Abel and Vukelich allegedly then began punching and kicking the victim while he was on the ground. The masked male approached and struck the victim again with the crowbar, he told police, causing him to "see stars."
The victim watched as the assailants allegedly jumped into his truck and drove straight toward where he was lying on the ground. The victim said he quickly moved out of the way, but if he hadn't, he would have been struck.
Soon after, the victim began walking on Jenny Street seeking help. The victim was transported to the emergency room, where his injuries were identified as a fracture to his septum and a fractured orbital socket, along with a head wound requiring stitches.
The truck was later located at a residence on the 10000 block of County Highway 77, where officers learned Abel had recently left the residence with two males. Baxter Police K-9 Officer Gator and his handler Officer Matt Maier tracked Abel and apprehended her, after which she was transported to the hospital with dog bites.
Both Abel and Vukelich are being held in the Crow Wing County Jail. Both are charged with first-degree aggravated robbery, second-degree assault with dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm and third-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm, all felonies. Abel is charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle and Vukelich with misdemeanor theft of a motor vehicle.
According to Minnesota court records, both Abel and Vukelich are currently facing felony drug charges from separate 2015 incidences. Abel allegedly sold methamphetamine to a confidential juvenile informant in Baxter, while Vukelich was allegedly observed selling illegal narcotics at a gas station. When Vukelich was stopped by police, a sunglasses case below him in the passenger seat apparently contained methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana and synthetic marijuana.
No additional information was available on the third suspect, who remained unidentified in the complaint, mentioned by the victim.