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Two fishermen allegedly caught cheating in viral video plead not guilty

Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky were indicted on charges of attempted grand theft and other crimes after a video appeared to show their catch stuffed with lead weights.

Two fishermen whose alleged cheating at an Ohio fishing tournament went viral pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of attempted grand theft and other crimes.

Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, said nothing during a brief arraignment at Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Their bond was set at $2,500 each.

Runyan and Cominsky were indicted this month on charges of cheating, possession of criminal tools and unlawful ownership of wild animals after a video appeared to show their catch stuffed with lead weights at a tournament.

Jacob Runyan, left, and Chase Cominsky, sit in court as they are arraigned, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Cleveland. The two pleaded not guilty to cheating and other charges in a lucrative fishing tournament on Lake Erie in the end of September where they were accused of stuffing five walleye with lead weights and fish filets.
Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky sit in court in Cleveland as they are arraigned Wednesday.Mark Gillispie / AP

The pair had sought a $28,760 payout at the Sept. 30-to-Oct. 1 Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament in Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has said.

The video showed the tournament director slicing open their catch, prompting someone in the crowd gathered around the men to shout: “We got weights in fish!”

The prosecutor’s office has accused the pair of stuffing their fish with 10 weights of 8 to 12 ounces.

Lawyers for Runyan and Cominsky did not immediately reply to requests for comment.