A further update to this enthralling fishing saga.
CLEVELAND — Two men are now facing criminal charges following their roles in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament scandal that happened in Cleveland last month.
On Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that 42-year-old Jacob Runyan, 42 and 35-year-old Chase Cominsky have been indicted on the following charges after allegedly placing weights and fish filets inside their catch:
- One count of Cheating (felony of the fifth degree)
- One count of Attempted Grand Theft (felony of the fifth degree)
- One count of Possessing Criminal Tools (felony of the fifth degree)
- One count of Unlawful Ownership of Wild Animals (misdemeanor of the fourth degree)
“I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal”, O’Malley said in a statement. “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.”
The indictments come nearly two weeks after weights and fillets were allegedly found inside the duo's tournament-winning catch. The controversy proceeded to receive national attention, with a video of the aftermath of the incident going viral on social media.
The worst part of this whole ordeal is that they made off with almost $500k in the last couple of years, and they still will only be able to be charged with this singular event. The $38k that was at stake in this individual tournament. I then subsequently found this video of them bragging about how they would always win "Because that's just what they do"
Fishing is not the type of sport where consistently giving the best effort, skill, and meritable action will help you win; there's a whole aspect of random fish swimming by! Winning consistently is almost statistically impossible. This will be there punishment.
According to a release from the prosecutor's office, Runyan and Cominsky's fifth-degree felonies are punishable by up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines, while misdemeanors of the fourth-degree are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.
Unfortunately, I feel like this will not be reasonable for the amount of money they received from previous competitions they were definitely cheating in. 100s of thousands of dollars in the wrong hands and because they will never find the old fish from those tournaments to see if there are weights inside of them, we will never be able to charge them for all their crimes. The thing is, people who get away with crimes usually try it again, and every time they do it they get less and less careful and sloppy. As always this is how they get caught. Thank god for innate human laziness for it is the crux of every criminal's downfall.