HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Investigators seized a boat and trailer from a Hermitage man accused in a fishing scandal.
Investigators with the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) obtained a warrant to seize the items as part of the investigation. Mercer County District Attorney Pete Acker said they’re being taken as evidence as they were allegedly used during the cheating scandal.
WKBN was there as the boat and trailer were seized and taken away from a property on N. Keel Ridge Road.
The Ranger Pro Fisherman boat is registered to local fisherman, Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage. Authorities say he and his partner Jacob Runyan, of Cleveland, are facing charges after they were accused of putting lead weights in the fish they caught during the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship in Cuyahoga County last month. According to a search warrant in the case, all five fish that the pair caught were found to have lead weights inside of them.
Organizers of the tournament immediately disqualified Runyan and Cominsky and contacted police and state wildlife officers, who forwarded a report to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Acker said he was contacted last week by ODNR and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to assist in obtaining the warrant for the local seizure.
“We work cooperatively with our partners, whether it’s the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office or ODNR or any other law enforcement,” Acker said.
In recent years, Runyan and Cominsky won a slew of fishing tournaments with cash awards and major prizes that included a fishing boat. The Toledo Blade reports that the pair finished in first place in the three Lake Erie Walleye Trail events this year, pocketing tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to prizes from other contests.
The search warrant states that the two were also being investigated by the Rossford Police Department on allegations of cheating in a fishing tournament on April 22.
Chelsea Simeon contributed to this report.