Pierce County deputy wanted for damaging family’s Eatonville home

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A Pierce County Sheriff’s Department deputy is being sought on an arrest warrant for causing damage to his and his wife’s home, according to court charging documents. The damage is estimated to have exceeded more than $50,000.

Michael Allan Phipps, 49, is being charged with first-degree malicious mischief after prosecutors said he “maliciously” caused physical damage to the walls, floors, ceiling, and furniture at the home.

Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy issued a warrant for Phipps’ arrest.

Phipps, who has been a deputy since 2000, has been on leave since June 2021.

According to The News Tribune, Phipps was issued a “personnel order” by the sheriff’s department that said he would be placed on administrative assignment or desk duty, should he return to work.

In mid-March, Phipps’ wife sought a temporary protection order, alleging her husband made threats to harm himself and abused substances, according to her court petition. It also required him to keep at least 1,000 feet away from his wife and home.

At one point, she wrote, Phipps “made a threat toward our adult child. He said he had a gun pointed at him and our neighbor from behind the front door,” The News Tribune reported. She also said he has grabbed her by the neck and pushed her.

In February, Phipps was involuntarily committed to a mental facility and in March left for treatment in California, the petition states. Phipps told his wife he had lost his gun rights for six months following treatment, according to the petition, and that he was angry about it.

Law enforcement had attempted to serve the order on numerous occasions but could not, due to what the Eatonville Police Department said was Phipps’ “erratic and unpredictable behavior.” A new order had to be reissued in April, court records stated.

After Phipps’ wife saw him on surveillance video on May 2 while she was away, she called authorities to their home.

She told police that she could see Phipps on surveillance going through the house, going in and out of the garage, and told them it appeared he was packing up something in his classic car, charging documents stated.

While police waited outside, Phipps’ wife texted officers that she had concerns about water leaking in her house.

Charging documents stated that officers contacted the town’s utilities and asked them to check the water meter at the home and turn it off if the gauge was registering a leak. The utilities shut the water off after determining the meter was registering a large leak.

Phipps’ wife later contacted officers and told them she was on her way and met them at the precinct.

The officers and Phipps’ wife went to the home after he had left. They discovered the smoke alarms going off and water pouring from multiple areas of the home, including light fixtures and vents, court records stated.

Charging documents stated there was damage to floors, walls, mirrors, toilets and more.

“I went upstairs and could see the refrigerator was displaced and the water line was broken from the wall. There was a gouge cut out of the center of the kitchen floor consistent with being struck multiple times with an ax,” police said.

Charging documents stated that multiple sinks, countertops, and other things were smashed or broken.

“The upstairs guest bathroom toilet had been smashed and water was free to pour out from it. Most of the carpeted floors downstairs, the carpet and wood flooring surfaces upstairs, and the downstairs ceilings were completely water-soaked with water,” according to court records.

Phipps’ wife estimated the cost of repairs would “easily exceed $50,000,” including a piano she said was worth $5,000 by itself.

“The amount of flooding/water damage appeared to be consistent with the time frames in which Michael arrived at and was present in the residence,” police said.

According to court documents, a warrant request states that “Law enforcement has notified the state, that the defendant has told co-workers that he has fled the state of Washington and is currently in California.”

Information from KIRO 7 partner, The News Tribune, was used in this report.