'Dr. Phil' hears Hagerstown woman's confession

On national TV, 'Micki' talks about 'impulsive criminal behaviors'

On national TV, 'Micki' talks about 'impulsive criminal behaviors'

January 24, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown woman confessed to stealing, lying and using her looks to con men out of thousands of dollars on an episode of "Dr. Phil" that aired Wednesday.

"I want to figure out why I do what I do, where these impulsive criminal behaviors are coming from," the woman, identified as "Micki," told Dr. Phil McGraw on the pre-taped syndicated television show. "I want to stop, but I don't know how to stop."

Washington County court records for 33-year-old Hagerstown resident, Michelle Pheabus, match the story Micki shares on the show.

Pheabus has a record of theft and forgery charges dating to at least 1995, most of which have been dropped or have resulted in probation.

In November 2006, she confessed to taking a credit card she found in her friend's house and using it to buy a $900 laptop computer at Wal-Mart and pay a $200 phone bill, Washington County Sheriff's Department Deputy Josh McCauley wrote in charging documents.


"She advised that she was having financial problems at the time and took the credit card," McCauley wrote. "Ms. Pheabus was very cooperative throughout the interview."

On Feb. 2, 2007, Pheabus pleaded guilty to charging more than $500 to another person's credit card, a charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison. She was sentenced to five years in jail, with all five years suspended, and given five years of unsupervised probation, records show.

On Sept. 17, she pleaded guilty to stealing a valuable oil painting from a man's home and was sentenced to one year of probation and issued a fine of $200, court records show.

"I've always thought I could talk my way out of anything, until about now," Pheabus told Dr. Phil. "It's starting to hit me that I'm not going to be able to talk my way out of anything anymore."

Pheabus was arrested Sept. 20 after a man reported she had forged checks from him for more than $10,000, Washington County Circuit Court records show.

Police say she wrote checks to herself, to Younger Toyota on Dual Highway, to Sagittarius Hair Salon and to Lewis C. Metzner, an attorney who was to represent her in the oil painting theft case, according to charging documents. Younger Toyota lost $6,500 when the check was returned as worthless, police wrote in charging documents.

Pheabus, who has pleaded "not guilty" in the case, is due back in court for a hearing Feb. 25, court records show.

She told Dr. Phil she has lost her job, has been living in her car and has sent her four children to live with friends.

She told Dr. Phil she doesn't think she is "jail material."

"I feel like I need therapy more than I need jail," she said.

The episode concluded with an offer from Dr. Phil to get Micki some help.

"But let me tell you," he says, "this sense of entitlement has got to go away."

A transcript of the episode, "Con Artists and Thieves," is available online at

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