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Redby man charged with child solicitation arrested

BEMIDJI—A Redby man who was charged with a felony in February after allegedly arranging to meet and have sex with an undercover officer he believed was a child was arrested Wednesday.


Gary Lee Cobenais, 43, was charged with one count of soliciting a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communication to engage in sexual conduct on Feb. 21. According to a criminal complaint, the attempted encounter with the undercover officer happened in December.

The complaint states that law enforcement posted an advertisement on social media that December posing as a young girl looking for sex. On Dec. 30 Cobenais allegedly responded to the ad and started texting with an investigator pretending to be the 15-year-old girl.

According to the complaint, the investigator told Cobenais via text message that she was 15. Cobenais replied "ur 15 yrs old," and the investigator replied "ya."

Cobenais then said he would bring condoms and asked about payment, the complaint said. The pair arranged to meet at the intersection of Pine Ridge Avenue and 28th Street and decided that Cobenais would flash his headlights to signal what vehicle was his.

After he was detained by officers Cobenais said he thought he had been texting an 18-year-old and that he accidentally typed "15."

He was charged with the felony but did not appear at the scheduled hearing in March. A warrant was issued March 10 and he was arrested Wednesday. Cobenais was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796