A central Minnesota man offered to pay a hit man $50,000 to kill a family member who was his wife's lover, but the plot was foiled because his supposed co-conspirator was an undercover agent for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Robert C. Thomas Sr., 38, of Sauk Centre, was charged in Todd County District Court with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with his latest alleged attempt to have the family member killed.

Thomas was arrested Monday, appeared in court Wednesday and remains jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail. He's due back in court on May 1. His legal representation has yet to be determined.

Thomas was under the impression that he would inherit "a substantial amount of money and property" once the family member, not identified in the court document, was dead, the complaint read.

Another possible motive for the plot, the complaint continued, was that "the targeted family member is currently romantically involved with Thomas' wife."

According to the complaint:

A confidential informant tipped off law enforcement in late March that Thomas had earlier paid $10,000 to gang members to have the family member killed. In one instance, the would-be killer went to a home in summer 2021 but didn't go through with the shooting.

Local law enforcement arranged with the BCA to record a meeting with Thomas and one of its agents.

On April 6, Thomas and the agent met in the Coborn's grocery store parking lot in Long Prairie as video and audio recorded their exchange. While in the agent's car, Thomas provided details about the family member's vehicles and his usual whereabouts.

Thomas made it clear he wanted the family member killed, "just gone," as opposed to injured. The agent gave Thomas a phone number to call if he changed his mind over the Easter weekend and said the killing would occur on Monday. Thomas expressed regret that he passed on a couple of previous opportunities to kill the family member himself and said he didn't need the weekend to reconsider.

The agent asked Thomas for the monetary terms for the plot, and he said he was in financial difficulty because of paying others who failed to carry out the killing.

Thomas assured the agent he would inherit "several assets upon the targeted family member's death, assets that he would be able to sell for cash."

The agent wanted money up front and said he was affiliated with the gang members he hired previously and could get his money from them. But Thomas countered that he would pay the agent $50,000 in installments after the killing.

"He encouraged the undercover agent to kill the targeted family member whenever the opportunity arose over the long weekend ... and shook the purported assassin's hand," the complaint read. "A murder-for-hire agreement had been reached. ... He did not call it off."

Law enforcement visited Thomas on Monday at his workplace and arrested him. While in custody, "he largely acknowledged that all of the events stated [in the charging document] happened as described," the complaint continued.