German Locksmiths

I was recently in Munich, Germany, and the person who I was staying
with accidentally left her apartment keys in her friend's car.
If you are not familiar with the common German lock, it consists of a
spring loaded latch, with no method of turning it other than a key (the
outside knob does not turn) there is also a deadbolt that can be locked
with the same key in the same cylinder. One turn pushes it out
halfway, the second turn pushes it out a little further. She had
locked the bolt with two turns.
We called a local locksmith. Neither of us speak very good German, so
we tried to explain to him on the phone that the door had been double
locked. But when he showed up he simply tried to use a credit
card-like device. After many minutes of trying to explain to him that
that would not work, even pointing to the where the deadbolt was and
describing the bolt position with my fingers. He finally understood
that the door was double locked and told us he could not open it
without drilling the lock. We decided to wait for her friend to ride
the train back and give us the key.
He did not even have tools to try to work the cylinder, and simply said
"it is not possible". And he was not interested in my rough drawing of
the key contours that I aquired from her friend 200KM away on the
Are these German 5-pin cylinders (I counted them on the key) really
that difficult to open? Or is it that uncommon for a locksmith to be
able to defeat a cylinder. Or were we just dealing with someone who was
not really qualified to call himself a locksmith. He did charge 50
Euro (about $62) for the house call.
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Many german emergency opening services have nothing to do with real locksmithing, the use brute force and sell you a new lock at ridiculous high prices. Do you remember the brand of the clyinder? Then I can try to tell you how easy it would be to pick; must of the normal 5-pinners here are quite simple locks, no sidebars, no elements checking for the right profile, and they often can be picked very fast or bumpkeyed. Just some narrow paracentric keyways can be a PITA :)
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Ralph A. Schmid, DK5RAS

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