Two fishermen captured in a viral video appearing to scam an Ohio fishing tournament are on the hook for multiple crimes, including cheating, authorities said in announcing their indictments Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley described the allegedly fishy conduct of Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, at last month’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament as “not only dishonorable but also criminal.”
Runyan and Cominsky were indicted on charges of attempted grand theft, cheating, possession of criminal tools and unlawful ownership of wild animals, O’Malley said in a news release.
The criminal tools charge stemmed from allegations the pair used Cominsky’s boat during the competition, the release said. Authorities seized the vessel and its trailer Tuesday.
The men sought a $28,760 payout at the Sept. 30-to-Oct. 1 tournament in Cleveland.
A scandal over the allegations erupted Sept. 30, when a video showed a crowd gathering around the competition’s proclaimed winners, Runyan and Cominsky.
Tournament director Jason Fischer sliced open the men’s catch to reveal lead weights stuffed inside.
Observers yelled expletives and expressed disbelief. “We got weights in fish!” someone shouted.
In the release, the prosecutor’s office said Fischer cut open the walleye after he noticed Runyan and Cominsky’s catch weighed more than its appearance suggested.
Ten weights were found inside the fish, eight of them weighing 12 ounces and two weighing 8 ounces.
Walleye fisherman Troy Krause, who uploaded a video of the tournament chaos to TikTok, said this month that others in competitive fishing had been suspicious of the men after they won a series of tournaments over the last year.
“I think they just got carried away and they finally got caught, which is good,” he said.
It wasn’t clear whether Runyan and Cominsky had lawyers to speak on their behalf. Court records didn’t list any. Runyan didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Cominsky couldn’t be reached.
Their arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Tim Stelloh is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
Angela Yang is an intern for NBC News Digital.