"Edifice Lex" Burns Down on East Roosevelt

By Paul Rubin

Passersby were diverted for hours this morning as Phoenix firefighters sought in vain to extinguish an intense building fire at 105 East Roosevelt, the onetime office of storied late attorney Tom Thinnes and his con man sidekick, Robert Shawn Owens (pictured below as a part of the New Times cover story "Catch Him If You Can").

No one was hurt in the blaze at the vacant building. Firefighters were immediately unable to subdue the flames after getting to the scene around 3:30 a.m., according to a Phoenix fire official, and assumed a defensive posture until the fire died down hours later.

Arson investigators will try to figure out the origin of the blaze only after it is safe enough to enter the charred structure, an oddly configured bit of architecture that looked a bit like an A-frame run amuck with big windows and unusual angles.

Thinnes, who died suddenly in 2004, dubbed the building (which he owned with shyster Owens) "Edifice Lex."

"Lex," as the famed late barrister called it for short, is/was located just east of Carly's Bistro, a cool eating and drinking establishment on the north side of Roosevelt a few blocks from Central Avenue.

"Lex" was where Thinnes--who once was listed in Best Lawyers in America, and was portrayed by name in a made-for-TV movie about a famous early 1980s Phoenix murder case--did business with Owens, a notorious scammer now serving a 10-year prison sentence for stealing thousands of dollars from Thinnes' own clients.

The building had been vacant for the last few years, and is certain to be razed after investigators search the rubble for clues to the fire's origin.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin