Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky have officially been charged with cheating and attempted grand theft stemming from the incident at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament in September 2022 captured on video and widely shared on YouTube.
The two tournament anglers were disqualified at the tournament weigh-in after 7 pounds of lead weights were found inside the walleye bellies they were entering into the contest, along with pieces of cut-up walleye. Had the pair won the tournament they would have received $28,760 in prize money.
“I take all crime very seriously, and I believe what these two individuals attempted to do was not only dishonorable but also criminal”, said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley after announcing the grand jury indictment on October 12. “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 boat, which was used in the fishing tournament, is now in the possession of Ohio Department of Natural Resources in a secure location. According to an official statement from prosecutor O’Malley’s office, Runyan and Cominsky could face up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines if convicted.