Two professional fisherman have been accused of stuffing their fish with lead weights and other filets of fish in order to win competitions — and now, the police are coming after them!
Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky were indicted in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday on charges of fraud and theft. The pair is facing bombshell allegations of deceit after allegedly adding foreign objects inside their fishing tournament catches in order to win prizes and money. Yes, really!!
This whole thing started back on September 30. That day, the 42-year-old Runyan and the 35-year-old Cominsky were competing in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament together. When they brought in their walleye catch for the judges to weigh at the end of the tournament, officials became suspicious about the resulting number.
Tournament director Jason Fischer (who is perfectly named for his role!) put their fish on the scale. He found Runyan and Cominski’s catches were significantly heavier than other fishermen who caught a similar number of fish. Skeptical about the much higher weight, which would have been good enough to win the tourney, Fischer cut open the fish. And the s**t show began!
Tournament attendees and other competitors gathered around as Fischer found lead weights and filets of store-bought walleye stuffed inside the two mens’ catch! Just BLATANT cheating!!! And it was all caught on video!
A TikTok video about the incident that was first posted two weeks ago has gone mega-viral. In it, other men crowd around the judge’s stand and yell angrily at Runyan and Cominsky after the lead weights and filets are revealed. As you can see (below), expletives fly as disbelief hangs over the crowd regarding the crazy cheating:
And more from the shocking reveal in front of the fishermen themselves:
Now, the consequences are coming fast. Wednesday’s indictment marks law enforcement’s focus on the incident. It may seem strange — it’s just a fishing tournament, right? — but there is serious money on the line here. CBS News reports Runyan and Cominsky would have won nearly $30,000 in prizes had they not gotten caught. So the fraud allegations are serious!
The two men have officially been charged with cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools, and misdemeanor charges of unlawfully owning wild animals. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has since confiscated their catch as evidence. Search warrant affidavits note that five walleye confiscated from the men allegedly contained eight 12-ounce lead weights and two 8-ounce weights along with several fish filets.
Tony Krause, the fisherman who first uploaded that viral video to TikTok, spoke to NBC News about it:
“I think they just got carried away and they finally got caught, which is good.”
Krause’s comment about the pair “finally” getting caught should get your attention. Because some in the pro fishing community are suspicious Runyan and Cominski have done this before!!
According to these new arrest affidavits, Runyan and Cominsky were investigated by police in Rossford, Ohio back in April after being accused of cheating at a separate walleye tournament there! CBS News reports that a local prosecutor in that northwest Ohio city ultimately didn’t press charges, concluding that “although the men may have cheated, there was not enough evidence to charge them.”
If only they knew then what these Cleveland prosecutors believe they know now! Reacting to the media attention to this wild story, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley released a statement to the press alongside the announcement of charges against Runyan and Cominsky:
“I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal.”
From here, the men are next due in court for their arraignment on October 26.
Reactions, Perezcious readers??
[Image via TikTok]
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