Fishermen accused of stuffing fish with lead weights plead not guilty

Fishermen accused of stuffing fish with lead weights plead not guilty

Oct. 26 (UPI) — Two men accused of stuffing fish with lead weights and fish fillets during a fishing tournament pleaded not guilty to cheating and other charges Wednesday.

Jacob Runyan, 42, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, 35, of Hermitage, Pa., declined to comment during their court appearance in Cleveland, CBS News reported.

Runyan and Cominksy are accused of cheating during the Sept. 30 Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament. Jason Fischer, the director of the tournament became suspicious when he found that the pair’s fish were significantly heavier than normal.

According to The Herald, the fish weighed 7.9 pounds. Fischer cut the fish open and found weights stuffed inside them.

An officer from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confiscated the fish as evidence.

Earlier this month, the two were indicted on felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and misdemeanor charges of unlawfully owning wild animals.

Both were released Wednesday on personal bonds of $2,500.

The first place prize in the tournament totaled around $28,000.

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