Cheating Ohio Fishermen Face Felony Charges After Stuffing Weights In Catch To Win Tournament
Two fishermen accused of putting lead weights in fish in order to win a tournament in Ohio were indicted in Cleveland Wednesday for attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and misdemeanor charges of owning wild animals. They are set to be arraigned on Oct. 26.
The scandal broke on Sept. 30 at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament, when Director Jason Fischer became suspicious of fish caught by Ohio resident Jacob Runyan and Pennsylvania resident Chase Cominsky.
Serious Controversy in Pro fishing tournament as multiple-time winners caught stuffing lead weights and other fish filets in their fish to have the heaviest catch to win hundreds of thousands in prizes. pic.twitter.com/Sxqeo2XC0K
— Billy (@Billyhottakes) October 1, 2022
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Fischer cut the fish open in front of a large audience and revealed lead weights and walleye fillets stuffed inside. The fishermen were subsequently disqualified from the tournament, and a legal process is now underway to determine their guilt and the unlawful nature of the accusations.
If Runyan and Cominsky were not caught, they could have won nearly $30,000 in prize money, which could make them culpable of attempted grand theft, the primary charge against them. The pair had spent several months on an impressive winning streak in multiple tournaments. They had been accused of cheating on several occasions, but there had never been sufficient evidence to prove it.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement that he intends to handle Runyan and Cominsky’s conduct in a criminal context.
“I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal,” O’Malley said. “I would like to formally thank the officers with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Hermitage Pennsylvania Police Department, the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for their quick actions and their execution of a search warrant resulting in the seizure of criminal tools, including Defendant Cominsky’s boat and trailer.”
If convicted, the fishermen may have to serve several months in prison and would likely have to pay fines.
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