It’s called “the devil’s den” by some who live on the street. They say they fear it and for good reason.
The abandoned metal two-story building at 1345 NW Third St. was the last place that Charles Eugene Davis ever saw before he was murdered there in 2015.
Oklahoma City Police detectives have not solved the case and so won’t say anything more than that.
But rumors on the street are that Davis was hung and his body set on fire.
Perhaps it’s true, or perhaps it’s a rumor directed at the living by suspected drug dealers who want to keep discipline among users.
Neighboring business managers Richard Greenly and John Scheidt say they have seen consistent activity around the building and the neighborhood that convince them there have been drugs sold in the building regularly.
The well-kept Holy Angels Catholic Church sits at the other end of the same block – a stark illustration of how diverse even one block can be in the deep city.
Oklahoma City Police records show that they have been called to buildings on the property 16 times in the last two years which included the call to find the dead body.
Police encourage anyone who may have information about the crime to call the Homicide Tip-line at (405) 297-1200.
The City of Oklahoma City code enforcement staff have been trying to get the owners of the property to secure the buildings there.
There are two deteriorated shop-type structures and two larger buildings. Recently the whole property has been merged in legal description to 1313 NW Third St. according to city code enforcement staff.
The Oklahoma City Council passed two resolutions on the property at their May 2 meeting.
The first was a resolution declaring the property dilapidated and the second declared it abandoned.
Later in the week Ward 6 councilwoman Meg Salyer told Free Press about the progressively tough measures the city is taking to eliminate the neighborhood nuisance.
“Obviously, what we would like is for the property owner to bring the property into compliance, and to be a good citizen and a good neighbor,” said Salyer. “So, that’s our objective, is to make them aware that the property is not in compliance and to bring it into compliance.”
But she confirmed “we really haven’t had much progress.”
Salyer said the owners have 30 days to give the city a clear plan for how they will remedy the code violations.
And if that is not satisfactory, it could “result in [the city] taking the property down if it’s declared a public nuisance.”
“We are always hopeful that the property owner will realize how serious we are about a public nuisance in the middle of a neighborhood and take action to correct that,” said Salyer.
The whole property is owned by W.C.I. LLC with Ali Mehdipour listed as the manager.
Oklahoma Secretary of State records show Frank Mehdipour and Meagn Mehdipour as having been previous managers of the LLC.
The corporation’s official address on record is 820 NW Ninth St. in Oklahoma City.
When Free Press went to that address, we found an aged residence that appeared to be abandoned.
One neighbor who asked not to be identified for their safety said that they have not seen anyone living in the house since they moved into the neighborhood.
Repeated attempts to contact any of the three Mehdipours were unsuccessful.
Lauren Branch, President and CEO of NiewView Oklahoma was happy to see progress being made on getting the property in a condition where it is no longer a nuisance to the whole neighborhood.
“If that property stays in the condition it’s in, I just think we are going to keep having problems,” Branch told Free Press after they spoke encouraging the council to take action. “It just continues to draw people who are desperate and trying to find something to steal. We’ve had numerous holes cut in our back fence between our property and that one.”
She was there with John Scheidt, facilities manager for Climate Craft that borders the west side of the nuisance property. Richard Greenly, co-owner of Pumps of Oklahoma joined them in encouraging the Council to act. Pumps of Oklahoma has been in the next block east for 49 years.
Greenly and his wife Terri are founders of Water 4, a charity based on their half-century of knowledge of water technology. They applied that knowledge to Africa to provide clean water to those areas that have none.
Greenly talked with Free Press a week later about the nuisance property in just the next block west of their headquarters.
“We’ve had to put Lexan in all of our windows. We’ve had windows broken out. We’ve been broken into numerous times. We just keep ramping up our security.”
He said that if his employees leave later in the evening they are sure to have someone else with them as they go the short distance to their car.
“As a community, we’ve gotten our teeth into this one and we aren’t letting go because it’s not fair to us, it’s not fair to the citizens that actually have little kids who live around here,” Greenly said. “We have a vested interest in this.”
Greenly said that he thinks the city can remedy the situation if they would partner with the neighboring businesses to coordinate a solution.
“I think we can do it where it wouldn’t cost them a penny,” said Greenly about the city’s next move.
“There would be enough people who think that there is value in that property to partner with the city to get this thing done,” he said. “We could do it without the city spending the money if the city would be willing to put legal work in on it.”
He said those in the neighborhood are to the point where they “intend to keep the heat on in a nice way.”
As the facilities manager of Climate Craft, John Scheidt has had multiple encounters with the variety of people who come and go through the problem property.
He has reason to be out and around where transients pass and talked to one transient who called the building “the devil’s den.”
Climate Craft has refurbished the two biggest steel fabrication buildings that Robberson Steel originally had and use the next two for storage of big unit pieces that are used to make custom air handlers for large commercial air conditioning.
“Specifically, what we have had is numerous people tearing the metal off of the east side of our building and coming in,” Scheidt said.
From what he has heard, there are around 15 to 30 people who live in different parts of the nuisance property. He said he sees not only people, but cars going in and out of the facility regularly.
“There’s a lot of drug deals.”
One time he went out to open the gate so the dumpster could be emptied later in the morning only to be confronted by “a guy with a knife.”
He said they have an agreement among employees who need to go onto the east side of the shops for parts to be sure and have someone else with them when they go.
Those who come in at 6 a.m. and those who stay until 11 p.m. make that a regular practice for their own safety.
As Richard Greenly said, “the clock is ticking” on the owners to comply with the city. At the beginning of June, the city will consider its next action on the nuisance.
Watch for further updates as we follow developments on this property.