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Angler gets jail time for cheating in tournament

A Long Prairie angler was given seven days in jail Monday for cheating at the Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Derby this winter.

Alfred "Tom" Mead, 72, pleaded guilty in Hubbard County District Court to a felony charge of theft by swindle May 20, for sneaking a previously caught fish into the tournament February 2.

Mead admitted to catching two northern pike on another lake and keeping them alive to bring to the American Legion tournament.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutor Erika Randall dismissed the game and fish violation he'd been charged with, for transporting live fish.

Mead will be on probation for four years, during which he is barred from the Legion Club, was fined $200 and ordered to pay a $75 public defender co-payment.

During his probation, prosecutor Erika Randall asked that he not be allowed to participate in any fishing contests or tournaments, and that he apologize to the Legion. He also lost his fishing and hunting privileges for two years in Hubbard County and all adjacent counties.

Mead has been a winner at the Park Rapids tourney before, along with other regional fishing contests in which he won major prizes.

In 2004, he won the Ice Fishing Challenge in Alexandria with a 7.14 pound walleye he brought to the weigh-in station during the contest's final seconds. He won a Ford F150 pickup with the catch.