A 38-year-old man from Sauk Centre, Minnesota has been arrested for offering to pay a hitman $50,000 to kill a member of his family who was sleeping with his wife.
However, the murder-for-hire plot was foiled when the individual he tried to hire for the job turned out to be an undercover law enforcement agent, according to a press release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
Robert Charles Thomas Sr. was taken into custody on Monday and charged with one count of felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, jail records show. He is currently being held on $250,000 bond.
Thomas Also Stood to Gain Financially from Hit
According to a copy of the criminal complaint filed in Todd County District Court, Thomas believed that in addition to getting rid of his wife's lover, the family member's death would also result in him gaining a "substantial" sum of money and assets .
"Thomas reportedly believed that he stood to inherit a substantial amount of money and property upon the family member's death," the document reportedly states. "Another possible motive for the alleged murder-for-hire plot is that the targeted family member is currently romantically involved with Thomas's wife."
Thomas Previously Hired a Hitman But He Didn't Finish the Job
Deputies said they learned from an informant that Thomas had hired a hitman in 2021 to kill the family member for $10,000. The informant told investigators the hit almost happened that summer but the hitman left the residence without shooting the family member.
Agents from the BCA and TCSO then scheduled a meeting in which an undercover agent posed as a hitman and met with the informant and Thomas in a grocery store parking lot on April 6.
Thomas and the undercover agent reportedly spoke to each other inside the undercover's vehicle for approximately an hour. The conversation, which was recorded, included Thomas stating he wanted the other man "gone," and providing details about the family member's daily habits, standard travel routes, and descriptions of his vehicles.
"Thomas made it clear that he wanted the targeted family member killed, 'just gone' – as opposed to being merely injured or maimed," court documents reportedly stated. "The undercover agent gave Thomas a phone number to call if he changed his mind about going through with it, as the assassination would happen early Monday morning if Thomas did not call it off. He would have a long Easter weekend to think about it."
Thomas Agreed to Pay the Hitman $50K in Instalments from Funds He Believed He Would Gain
Investigators say Thomas allegedly confessed to having hired the hitman in 2021 and further agreed to pay whom he believed to be the new hitman $50,000, which would come in installments from the funds he stood to inherit in the event of the family member's death. Additionally, Thomas allegedly expressed regret about not killing the family member himself.
"[Thomas] encouraged the undercover agent to kill the targeted family member whenever the opportunity arose over the long weekend," the complaint states, according to the Star Tribune, adding that a "murder-for-hire agreement had been reached" and that Thomas "did not call it off" before the killing was supposed to take place.
After he was arrested at his place of employment, authorities reportedly said Thomas "largely acknowledged that all of the events stated" in the court documents did in fact take place "as described," per the Tribune. If convicted, Thomas faces up to 20 years in prison.