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Austin Texas’ SWAT team is feeling the heat, after swooping down on a suspected koi rustler. “Eric Philippus, 43, said 10 to 12 police officers came to search his house about 10 a.m. yesterday, knocking down the door and drawing guns on his 17-year-old son and his other son’s girlfriend,” reports. “Philippus said he was not at home at the time but heard the story after he arrived hours later to find his door damaged and his house in disarray.” Those must be some expensive fish eh? I know what you’re thinking: don’t play koi with me . . .

Zilker Botanical Gardens reported 13 of their fish missing from the the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden. The fish, which were 2 to 3 feet in length and weighed 15 to 20 pounds each, were valued at $150 to $200 each, according to a city spokesperson.

Yes, OK. Expensive fish. Check. But a dozen cops? Philippus says WTF and it wazzunt me.

“I go to the Botanical Garden all the time. I’ve been going there for years. I would never do anything to harm those fish or any other fish as a matter of fact.”

The police have not attempted to question him since the search, Philippus said.

“They’re looking for koi in strange places—in the bedroom, in the closet, places that can’t hold water or fish,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. I love my koi fish more than anything but I never point a loaded gun at anybody over a fish without even checking the information.”

Philippus said police were acting on a tip from the owner of local pond shop. He is contemplating taking legal action and has been in touch with his lawyer.

“An apology would go a long way,” Philippus said.

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  1. I’m generally willing to give police the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t for the life of me think why a no-knock, tactical, swat-style search was necessary here.

    Did the tipster suggest to the cops that Phillipus was a heavily armed koi (and maybe meth) dealer? Does the Austin PD have a written procedure for deciding when swat type tactical searches are necessary?

    • Edit: The cops did, in fact, knock and got no answer. So they went tactical. I guess that’s the procedure in Austin.

      • They may have knocked but they never announced themselves before entering home and once they did enter the home, they said "Fire Department", not "Police".

        • It was my house and my son was the one that had a gun held on him while being yelled at to lie down while only in his boxer shorts and handcuffed. There is way more than APD is wanting to be told. Let's not forget, my son is only 17.

  2. Have you ever seen SWAT in action? As soon as they knock on the door they bust it down. They don't give you time for anything because they are so afraid people flush things down toilets or run out the back door. Michelles boy was probably asleep and everyone knows how hard it is to get teens to wake up. I really think APD went over the boundries on this case just because of some guy who said he knows a guy who owns alot of koi fish. APD needs to use SWAT for drug dealers, murderers, etc. Michelle I hope you do get a lawyer and go after APD and that guy with the pond store.

    • Shirley, what was not disclosed by pond store owner is that he and Eric used to work together at another pond shop. He and Eric talk several times a week and if Eric was going to confide in him over other fish he had been given, why would Drew not just ask Eric directly like friends do. No, he calls in some secret tip or has his girlfriend do it. Also, not reported and Drew knows this first hand, is that Eric suffered a head injury last August and has not been the same since. We are talking about 13 koi that were 10-20 lbs minimum, add the water needed to transport and you are talking 2 person job. I can't send Eric less than a mile down the street to the corner store with a list of 3 items to buy without a minimum of 2 phone calls before he gets there and a guarantee he will come home with either the wrong thing or not having it at all and it will take him 45 minutes to do so.

      There are many facts of the case not being told . I have the affidavit, search warrant used and inventory sheet. I emailed the detective in charge yes

  3. Sorry, it sent before I had wanted.

    E-mailed detective yesterday and although, he didn't address my concerns or questions, he did say the gun was stolen in 2000 in Washington Park. I bought it in 2003 at local pawn shop and a few years ago, Eric and some friends were target shooting in a field and several law enforcement, including DPS, were called and they cleared the gun then. Of course, let's not forget, gun was in a closed toolbox in a garage and the warrant specifically stated it was for stolen koi….now I don't know about most folks, but we aren't accustomed to keeping ours there.

    Again, many things not being told.


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