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Alfred Mead, a 72-year-old angler from Minnesota, has pleaded guilty to a charge of “theft by swindle” on May 20, Parks Rapid Enterprise reported.

Mead shamelessly admitted to catching two northern pike on another lake and keeping them alive to bring to the Park Rapid American Legion Community Fishing Derby on Feb. 2. The prize for the tournament winner was an Ice Castle fish house valued at $10,000.

But it doesn’t stop there. Mead has a decade long trail of suspiciously successful tournament winnings, as well as two prior convictions from 2009.

In January of that year he admitted to keeping fish over the limit, for which he paid a $145 fine and $90 in court fees. He did not appear in court. Two months later, he was convicted of “fishing with two hooks or a treble hook not attached to an artificial lure.” He was fined $35 and ordered to pay $90 in costs, again without having to appear in court, Parks Rapid Enterprise reported.

But this time Mead has been hit with a weeks worth of jail time, four years probation, a $200 fine, and a $75 public defender co-payment.

“Your conduct had a major impact on these things (fishing tournaments),” Judge Robert Tiffany told Mead. “I hope you realize the seriousness of your conduct. Cheating takes the enjoyment and joy out of it for those who bring their kids and honest participants.”

Do you think Mead’s punishment fits his crime?

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