Del Valle man un­happy about po­lice raid that turned up none of the missing Zilker gar­den fish

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Nau­reen Khan nkhan@states­man.com; 445-3663

A man whose Del Valle home was searched by po­lice Thurs­day for koi fish missing from Zilker Botan­i­cal Gar­den is not pleased with the Austin Po­lice Depart­ment.

Eric Philip­pus, 43, said 10 to 12 of­fi­cers came to his house about 10 a.m., knocked down the door and drew guns on his 17-year-old son and his other son’s girl­friend. Philip­pus was not home at the time.

“Any time that we do a search war­rant no mat­ter how in­nocu­ous it may be, if we don’t get an an­swer at the door, … the law al­lows us to force en­try into the build­ing or res­i­dence,” Austin po­lice Sgt. Jamie Jobes said. “When we do that, it’s in­cum­bent upon of­fi­cers to en­sure their own safety and the safety of any­one in the build­ing. They’re go­ing to en­ter with their guns drawn and take pre­cau­tion.”

Jobes could not com­ment on the specifics of the case.

Po­lice acted on a tip from a lo­cal fish pond owner, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

At a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, Sgt. Cather­ine John­son said that of­fi­cers had acted on a search war­rant for a “per­son of in­ter­est” and that Philip­pus re­mained a per­son of in­ter­est.

Philip­pus, who has a koi fish pond in his back­yard, said he did not steal the missing fish and has no idea who did.

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

“I love my koi pond, but the largest koi I have back there is less than a foot,” Philip­pus said. “They’re look­ing for koi in strange places — in the bed­room, in the closet, places that can’t hold wa­ter or fish. It’s ridicu­lous.”

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