CLEVELAND — Two anglers accused of cheating during the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship late last month have been indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges.
What You Need To Know
- Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, have been indicted on multiple charges
- They are accused of cheating at a walleye fishing tournament on Sept. 30
- Video of their catch being cut open after the tournament went viral
- Cominsky's boat and trailer were seized on Tuesday
Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, are charged with cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and unlawful ownership of wild animals, according to a press release from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley.
“I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal,” said O’Malley.
The fallout began Sept. 30, during the weigh-in, when the director of the event discovered metal weights in the fish presented by a two-man team. They were vying for a top prize of $28,760 in the tournament, which featured anglers from several surrounding states.
The tournament director found 10 weights and several fish filets in the five walleyes Runyan and Cominsky had submitted for the weigh-in. There were eight 12-ounce weights and two eight-ounce weights total in the five fish.
A search warrant for Cominsky was executed Oct. 11 and his boat and trailer, which were used in the tournament, were seized.
“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,” said O’Malley.
The pair are being charged with fifth-degree felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools, along with unlawful ownership of wild animals, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
The felonies have a maximum punishment of 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines, while the misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. They could also lose their fishing licenses permanently.
Runyan and Cominsky will be arraigned at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center at a date to be determined.