Two fishermen caught adding lead weights and fish fillets to increase the weight of their catches at an Ohio tournament last month were indicted on felony charges of cheating and attempted grand theft.
A grand jury in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday indicted Jacob Runyan, 42, of Broadview Heights, Ohio; and Chase Cominsky, 35, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, according to The New York Times. The men, who were teammates in the LEWT Championship Trail Championship on Lake Erie in Cleveland on Sept. 30, are charged with cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and unlawful ownership of wild animals, according to the indictment filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
The fishermen added approximately 8 pounds of total weight by adding lead sinkers to the five fish they caught during the event, tournament director Jason Fischer told WXIX-TV. The men then padded the inside of the walleyes with fillet, preventing the judges from discovering the reason for the added weight, WJW-TV reported.
The fish weighed nearly 34 pounds, The Washington Post reported. But Fischer thought they would have tipped the scales at about 20 pounds.
“It just kind of deflated me, because I just knew it wasn’t right,” Fischer told the newspaper.
According to the grand jury, the two men knowingly used deception in order to win the tournament.
Fischer prodded the stomach of a walleye caught by the pair during the weigh-in and sliced open the fish to reveal its illegal contents. Video of the incident showed angry tournament competitors and friends of the men, according to told WKYC-TV.
Runyan and Cominsky were disqualified and asked to leave the event, according to the Times.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a statement that the men’s actions were “not only dishonorable but also criminal.”
Runyan and Cominsky could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, the Times reported. It was unclear if they were being represented by an attorney.
A boat and trailer were seized Tuesday from Cominsky’s home on Tuesday after a search warrant was obtained by the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, WJW reported.
Both men will be arraigned on Oct. 26, according to The Associated Press.