Locksmith needs legal advice.

Hey folks,
I'm a fellow locksmith (of 20 years) and have had a request from a lawyer,
acting on behalf of a property management company, to help explain at a
tribunal hearing, why a lock in a high-rise apartment building would open
with a random key. This hearing is due to a theft which allegedly occurred
from a tenant's residence. I have examined some of the locks which were
previously in-use on this building (thankfully we got the contract to
replace almost 300 deadbolts after the alleged incident took place). During
disassembly of some of the formerly-installed deadbolts, I found that many
of the locks had been bastardized by whomever had worked on them over the
past 10 to 15 years (estimated) from when the initial master-key system had
been set-up and implemented. The specific lock involved in this case, had
bottom pins installed as driver pins in the last three chambers and being a
Weiser, it wasn't as tolerant as some other manufacturer's products are to
having random keys work them. I have been searching the internet for some
kind of visual aid, or explanation which is presented in terms which can be
more easily understood by the laymen who will decide the outcome of this
case. In my opinion, this landlord had no idea what was inside of these
cylinders, and the fact that they sprang for new locks after this happened,
said to me that they genuinely showed concern for their tenants. Any help
would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all and keep up the great work on this newsgroup!
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"Lokumup" wrote in message:
So what you are really asking is how to explain the faulty workmanship that weakened the security of the cylinders when you testify as an expert witness at this tribunal hearing...
You probably won't find very much on the internet that will be very useful for the purposes you indicated... Billy B Edwards, Jr. CML has a very good explanation of the exact condition you are getting at with your description in his book Master Keying by the Numbers...
Several keys from the same system would be able to operate from the condition existing when using the rounded bottom pins in the top of the chamber as drivers would allow keys off by _as many as_ four increments to operate the cylinder... Multiply that by however many chambers were compromised in that manner and you now have a great number of keys from the same master system that will operate that improperly assembled lock... This problem gets even worse if the creative engineer would pinned up the cylinder chamfered any of the chamber holes or used a file on the plug...
How old was the lock in question ??? Were all of these locks new when the master system was established all those years ago ??? If it was 10 or 15 years since it was last re-keyed (during the mastering) the wear on both the pins and the keys could help aggrivate your particular problem even further.. Who knows the person who did all of the incorrect work on the locks could have repeated bittings on some of the locks (you said that there were 300 or so) and this could have been one of the grand jackpot winners....
So you have a management company who hired (or used internally) a person to deal with the locks who was not qualified enough to ensure the proper operation of the locks entrusted to his/her care... Sounds like some handyman or maintenance man is about to be sued when this tribunal is over...
If you need help with this I would contact Billy Edwards and talk with him about it, also you could ask him to use portions of his book for refernece during your testimony...
Good luck...
Evan the Maintenance Man
Reply to
DEPENDING on your time allotted...
make a wood lock cylinder with a cut away...
3/4" dowel rod for the pins ( a flat key' for convenience) you can take a Forestner bit and make the chambers, with 'part open' so the pin stack can be seen.
show the workings of a normal 5 pin lock, how it works, etc, then replace the 5 pin stacks with 3, with the ends of the dowels HEAVILY tapered, such as Weiser and KW are.. and show the 'slop in the system' so to speak --Shiva--
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probably not big ones tho... this way the court would be happier in that everyone can see at once..
oh, and you need 2-3 different keys made too.. the CORRECT, plus some sloppy ones that also work
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Well... I guess he could use one that he actually took out... Preferably the exact one in question... and cut, carefully, to reveal the pin stack... Just a thought... As for as the jury being about to see, just need a cctv camera plugged directly into a monitor.
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This isn't legal reply, but I have seen similar problems. The one time I fired a locksmith customer, it was cause he was neglecting his tenant's security.
He had a shopping mall which had after market cylinders which Yale keyway. The cylinders had bottom pin holes drilled deep enough to accept at most a #6 bottom pin. The locksmith who set up the system had run the master chart off some kind of computer program. I did get to talk to that locksmith at one point, and he keeps saying "that's how it came off the comptuer".
Knowing that the cylinders were drilled for six pins at most, I found four or five key changes that would work each others doors. I mentioned that to the manager who was over the building. He did go to the building and take the key cabinet copies of the keys and found out that they did work. I asked when he was going to have me rekey those cylinders. He just looked bashful and said he hoped they wouldn't notice.
I think cutaway locks are a good idea. Wish I knew where you could find one. Or two.
Reply to
Stormin Mormon
Why not invest a couple bucks in a good "Cut-away" lock or make one form a similar lock, then pin it as such and demonstrate. A picture may be worth a 1000 words, but something concrete they can actually see demonstrated must be worth even more :)
I wish I could remember where, but I saw a "GIANT", like a metre long, one of these made of plastic or something, I assume it was used a as a classroom aid or something. Anyone ever see one of these?
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I have seen a large plastic one at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Maybe someone there knows about it. Their phone number is 206 443 2001.
Reply to
Ed Jasper
Heard about it, was used in a classroom training, the guy was a woodworker AND locksmith, so made his own.. wouldnt be hard to do actually, a sliding dovetail joint, and dowels for the pins.
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