- "Halt or be skewered!"
- ―The bandit trio's typical threat to their victims[src]
The bandit trio is a Philistine gang of highwaymen who lurk near the public roads of a town somewhere between Bethlehem and Gath. The head of the brigands looks astonishingly similar to Tiras, the so-called "Marauder of the Mediterranean," and given that none of the other thieves address their leader by name, there's an excellent chance that this man really is Tiras.
In the Adventures of Young Branan episode "Brigand's Lair" from volume three of the series, the bandit trio waylay Mathias and his nephew Branan as they are returning to Gath from an errand of purchasing olive oil jars in Bethlehem. As is typical of highwaymen, the brigands insist that they own the road and demand that Mathias pay a toll to pass. Instead on complying, Branan removes one of the empty olive oil jars from the back of the oxcart and smashes it over the head of the Tiras-lookalike thief. As the two begin to wrestle, one of the other ruffians grabs Mathias and holds a sword to his throat, ordering Branan to release the bandit leader.
Impressed with Branan's strength, the head thief decides to kidnap their victims and force the strong lad into joining their outlaw gang. The bandits blindfold the two travelers and hustle them back to the robbers' secret lair. Once there, the thieves offer their captives some roasted boar but, as a kosher Jew, Branan declines. Strangely, Mathias refuses the unclean meat as well, for reasons best known to himself.
Leaving their hostages in the cave, the bandit gang return to one of their favorite haunts, waiting for someone to rob. An elderly couple walks by, and the brigands draw their swords, demanding their usual toll. Like Branan, the elderly couple refuses to obey and begins hurling fruits and vegetables at their assailants until they run away.
The next day, the thieves become so sick from the unclean meat they ate the night before that they run out of the cave to vomit, leaving their prisoners unsupervised in the lair. While the men are gone, Branan grabs a nearby dagger and cuts his and Mathias's ropes. As the captives run out of the cave, the thieves see their hostages fleeing and chase after them. Mathias leads Branan into some rocky outcrops, but the brigands manage to corner the escapees at a dead end.
Unknown to Mathias or Branan, Branan's father Samson is standing on the edge of a cliff right above them, only visible to the bandit trio. Branan bravely steps forward and offers to fight the robbers, but once they see Samson standing on the edge of the cliff they scamper away, leaving Mathias and Branan to believe that it was the latter's courage that sent them scattering.