INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 13, 2015)– If the walls of 305 North Jefferson Avenue could talk, the murderous and heartbreaking stories they could tell.
Like the unsolved 1998 murder of Shannon Turner, likely at the hands of her boyfriend and Outlaws motorcycle gang enforcer David Mays, in a duplex on the property of the east side compound.
If those walls could talk, investigators would hear about other schemes that led to the crew’s downfall in a federal racketeering investigation, built on wiretaps and an insider’s cooperation, three years ago.
“They weren’t extorting people anymore, they weren’t stealing motorcycles anymore, they weren’t filing false insurance claims anymore, they weren’t chopping up motorcycles anymore, they weren’t beating up witnesses anymore, that I can tell you,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington moments before heavy equipment began taking a literal bite out of the two-story clubhouse and other buildings on East New York Street.
“I don’t know how many hours we sat on this particular property, keeping an eye on surveillance, taking pictures, following people away from it, trying and, in a lot of cases, made good cases rights from this property,” said Marion County Sheriff John Layton who investigated the Outlaws for narcotics trafficking in the early 1990s.
A massive raid in the summer of 2012 resulted in 51 arrests with 19 Outlaws members in handcuffs.
One of their own officers turned on them.
“This confidential informant was not somebody who was arrested for something and was pleading down charges,” said Blackington. “This confidential informant was not somebody who came forward to collect a big fat paycheck to help out law enforcement.”
“This informant was someone who associated with the Outlaws for a number of years, who knew what they were about, felt threatened by them, felt that they posed an unacceptable danger to the community and had enough and he stepped forward to work as an informant with the FBI.”
As demolition crews brought down the buildings within two hours, a biker wearing colors sat nearby on his motorcycle as IMPD officers stood watch against a rumored gang drive-by.
“This is a symbol,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. “They weren’t in fear of the community. They set up shop in the community. So what better symbolism of it than to tear it down?”
“We’re tearing it down. So it starts here. We’re tearing down corruption, unfair treatment of the neighborhoods, holding people hostage in their own communities, not able to share information with law enforcement, we’re tearing down all the tyranny that exists from motorcycle clubs and gangs in general. This is an historic day.” said Hite.
Some neighbors said they saw the Outlaws as a stabilizing force in the community, keeping burglars and car thieves and drug dealers at bay, afraid to cross the gang on the corner.
“We are absolutely intent on dismantling the criminal enterprises here in Marion County and central Indiana,” said Prosecutor Terry Curry. “So whether it’s the Outlaws, the Havvard crew that was taken down in Operation Family Ties at 40th and Boulevard, whether it’s the Richard Grundy crew, it is our goal that we will dismantle these criminal enterprises in central Indiana.”
Investigators took drugs, firearms, photographs and financial and membership records out of the clubhouse before its demolition, putting the Outlaws on the run, but perhaps not out of business, even though many members remain in federal prison.
“When the Outlaws come out, and they will come out at some time, they will not come back to Jefferson and New York to start their organization,” said Forestal. “Not at least on this piece of property.”
It’ll take ten days for crews to clear the compound site on the corner of Jefferson and New York before turning it over to the city for redevelopment or perhaps a park.
One detective said investigators might want to get a look at the basement of the property once the wreckage is removed to see if clues to any unsolved mysteries are buried there.