Two former Ellis County Sheriff’s deputies have been accused of stealing guns from the department’s evidence room and pawning them at a store in Ennis.
Thomas Glen Smith and Philip Slaughter each face theft and tampering with evidence charges from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Smith, who retired from Ellis County in December 2015, is currently a deputy for the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Department.
In an arrest warrant dated May 2, 2016, investigators charged Smith with three counts of theft of property and two counts of tampering or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair.
The warrant identifies Smith as a co-conspirator with Slaughter, who was arrested in mid-April.
The investigation began in April when the Ennis Police Department contacted the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office to inform them an officer had recovered a Colt revolver at Ennis Pawn that had been reported stolen by the ECSO, according to an arrest warrant.
The name on the pawn receipt was Philip Gary Slaughter II, according to the warrant, who had also pawned two additional firearms on April 5.
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Slaughter resigned from the ECSO on March 28, 2016 as the Criminal Investigations Division Lieutenant, records show.
From October 2015 to November 2015, Slaughter was assigned as the supervisor responsible for the ECSO evidence room, according to the arrest warrant, and was responsible for researching all weapons cases and maintaining final disposition of those weapons during an audit.
Each of the three weapons reportedly pawned by Slaughter were scheduled to have been destroyed in November 2015, according to investigators.
Later, investigators learned four additional firearms were pawned at Ennis Pawn and Pawn Store and More in Ennis on April 5.
The name on those pawn receipts was also “Philip Slaughter,” the arrest warrant noted.
According to the arrest warrant, each of those weapons was also subject to a November 2015 destruction order.
In a text message conversation obtained by investigators, Slaughter and Smith reportedly discussed “stealing guns, hiding guns, selling guns, guns they have in their possession and guns they did/didn’t destroy.”
Witnesses also reported to investigators seeing Slaughter and Smith inside the evidence room at one point “discussing and handling a gun that was later stolen from the evidence room,” according to the warrant.
On April 18, Thomas Smith reportedly contacted investigators and acknowledged Philip Slaughter asked him to “sell some guns,” and that on more than one occasion in November and December 2015, Smith pawned guns at a pawn shop in Ennis that had been stolen from the ECSO evidence room.
In one text message reportedly recovered by investigators, Slaughter wrote “LOL I wld be a good crook!,” to which Smith replied, “All good bro.”