CLEVELAND, AP — Two fishermen accused of stuffing fish with sinkers and nets to win thousands of dollars at a fishing tournament in Ohio on Wednesday have been charged with attempted robbery and other charges.
Jacob Runyan, 42, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominski, 35, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, were charged in Cleveland with fraud, attempted aggravated robbery, possession of criminal equipment and unlawful possession of a 'wild animal'. They should be uploaded by October 26th.
No one immediately responded to a voicemail requesting comment.
The allegations of cheating surfaced Sept. 30 when Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament Director Jason Fischer suspected that Runyan and Cominski fish were usually much heavier than walleye during that time. The crowd at Gordon Park in Cleveland watched as Fischer opened the walleye and announced that weights and walleye fillets had been put in.
An Ohio Department of Natural Resources agent confiscated the fish as evidence.
Fischer also did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Runyan and Cominski will receive $28,760 in prize money for winning the tournament.
According to the search warrant, the five pickerels contained a total of eight 12-ounce (0.34 kilograms) lead weights and two 8-ounce (0.23 kilograms) lead weights, in addition to fish fillets. . Officers from the ODNR, Hermitage Police Department and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission seized a boat, trailer, and fishing equipment in Cominski, Pennsylvania on Tuesday. The fishermen had used the boat at last month's tournament, according to a written statement.
One affidavit reveals that Runyan and Cominski were investigated by police in Rossford of Northwest Ohio in April after being accused of cheating at another walleye tournament. According to the Rossford police report, Wood County's assistant prosecutor concluded that while the men may have cheated, there was not enough evidence to charge them.