By Mark Gillispie, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — The county prosecutor’s office in Cleveland has opened an investigation into an apparent cheating scandal during a lucrative walleye fishing tournament on Lake Erie last week.
A video posted to Twitter shows Jason Fischer, tournament director for the Lake Erie Walleye Trail, cutting open the winning catch of five walleye on Friday and finding lead weights and prepared fish filets inside them.
The winning anglers, Jacob Runyan, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, were immediately disqualified. The video shows Fischer urging Runyan to leave for his own safety as people hurled expletive-laced insults at him.
Fischer told WOIO-TV that he cut the fish open because they appeared heavier than typical walleye of that length.
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Monday that the agency’s officers gathered evidence from the tournament and were preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said his staff will be meeting with the agency’s officers Tuesday.
“I take all crime seriously, including attempted felony theft at a fishing tournament,” O’Malley said. “These individuals will be held accountable.”
Messages seeking comment were left Monday for Runyan, Cominsky and Fischer.
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Featured image: Fishing on Lake Erie. Photo by Natasha Blakely.