Police responding to a bomb scare following a Thunder basketball game this week instead encountered what they say is a long-lingering problem at the Cox Convention Center.
The center, they say, is a haven for the homeless.
Located at 1 Myriad Gardens, directly across Reno Avenue from the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the convention center houses the city’s hockey arena and numerous exhibit halls and meeting rooms. Designed to allow easy and constant access for event organizers, it also makes it an easy spot for homeless to take shelter.
After Tuesday evening’s basketball game between the Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, a police officer found a suspicious package on the concourse walkway bridge connecting the Cox Center and the Renaissance Hotel. Police eventually determined the package wasn’t a bomb. Instead, it was a bag containing a homeless man’s belongings.
Police arrested the man on suspicion of public intoxication.
Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said it’s common for the homeless to sneak into the locked convention center after business hours, sometimes using a parking garage elevator. Others wait for someone to leave the building and then slip through the closing door, he said.
Once inside, it’s difficult to locate someone in the vast building.