The Great Fishing Scandal: Cheats Chase Cominsky and Jacob Runyan are charged with FELONIES

The Great Fishing Scandal: Cheats Chase Cominsky and Jacob Runyan are charged with FELONIES
Chase Cominsky (L) and Jacob Runyan (R) were arrested after scandalizing the competition (CNN YouTube screengrab)

CLEVELAND, OHIO: Two anglers allegedly scandalized a fishing competition in Ohio two weeks ago after they engorged walleyes with lead balls and fillets in an attempt to win thousands of dollars. On October 11, Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, were charged with cheating, attempted grand theft, and other counts after the duo duped the tournament.

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Runyan and Cominsky were competing in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship on September 30. Championship director Jason Fischer grew suspicious after their tournament-winning catch weighed almost double their closest competitor. Fischer decided to cut the walleye open and was shocked to find weights and fillets stuffed inside. The crowd at Gordon Park quickly became furious after learning of the fraud. In a viral video, onlookers could be heard demanding answers and even threatening to call the cops after Fisher announced, "We got weights in fish!"

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Jacob Runyan of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, were indicted in Cleveland on felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools, and misdemeanor charges of unlawfully owning wild animals, according to Daily Mail. Suspicions first arose in the final moments when the five heaviest fish of the day had to be weighed on scales. In the dramatic discovery, Fischer could be seen slicing the fish open and removing lead balls and fillets stuffed inside. The pair would have received $28,760 in prizes had they won the competition.

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(CNN YouTube screengrab)
The five walleye contained a total of eight 12-ounce lead weights and two 8-ounce weights and fish fillets
(CNN YouTube screengrab)

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources confiscated the fish as evidence. The five walleye contained a total of eight 12-ounce lead weights and two 8-ounce weights, as well as the fish fillets, revealed the search affidavit. On Tuesday, ODNR, Hermitage Police Department, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission seized a boat, trailer, and fishing gear belonging to Cominsky after the anglers had used the same boat during last month's tournament. The affidavit also disclosed that the pair were allegedly accused of scandalizing a different walleye tournament.

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The Rossford police in northwest Ohio reported that although the men may have cheated, there was not enough evidence to charge them. Steve Hendricks, who was declared the winner at the Lake Erie Walleye Championship, told CNN, "I just hope they get them for everything they can for what they've done." He added, "For most anglers, 'that's what they love to do,' that they aren't in it for the money. And they're out there trying to do a great job and it's just unfortunate that a select few can come in and ruin all that for you. So I hope they get the max," The pair are due to be arraigned on October 26. 

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