Charges: Minnesota man tried to hire undercover cop posing as hitman to kill family member

A central Minnesota man is accused in a new criminal complaint of attempting to hire an undercover state investigator, posing as a hitman, to kill a family member who he said was carrying on a relationship with his wife.

Robert Thomas Sr., of Grey Eagle, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the charges filed on Wednesday.

According to the charges, the investigation into Thomas started in late March when deputies say 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.

The charges state that Thomas was motivated by the alleged relationship between his wife and the family member and financial gain. Deputies write: "Thomas reportedly believed that he stood to inherit a substantial amount of money and property upon the family member's death. Another possible motive for the alleged murder-for-hire plot is that the targeted family member is currently romantically involved with Thomas's wife."

The Todd County Sheriff's Office then worked with the Minnesota BCA to set up a meeting with Thomas and the informant, bringing in an undercover agent to pose as a hitman.

All three met in the parking lot of a Long Prairie grocery store to discuss the crime on April 6.

The charges state that Thomas spoke with the undercover officer for about an hour inside the officer's vehicle, which had been wired to record the conversation. During the conversation, the complaint says Thomas gave information about the family member's habits, places they regularly visited, and the vehicles the family member drives.

The charges read: "Thomas made it clear that he wanted the targeted family member killed, "just gone" – as opposed to being merely injured or maimed. 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."

The charges state Thomas agreed to pay $50,000 for the hit after the fact, using proceeds from the family member's death to make the payments. The complaint also states that Thomas lamented about not doing the job himself and admitted to the previous hitman hiring attempt.

When reminded that he would have until Monday morning to call off the hit, the complaint states Thomas said he didn't need time to think it over and urged the hitman to do the job over the weekend instead of waiting. The agent urged Thomas not to do the killing himself, which according to the charges Thomas agreed to before shaking the agent's hand to seal the deal.

Deputies say Thomas never called to stop the murder. He was arrested late Monday morning. He is currently being held in Todd County Jail. He faces up to 20 years behind bars if convicted.