In this post, I have photos of two different safes that were destroyed by locksmiths. It is my hope that in reading this people won’t make the same mistake the unfortunate owners of these ruined safes did by calling locksmiths who aren’t trained to service safes. Safes and safe servicing (opening) is a specialty within the locksmithing trade. As with any specialty, training, experience and the proper equipment are required in order to do the job correctly.
Photos 1-5 are of an antique safe that was ruined by a locksmith who happened to be geographically local to the customer. This customer didn’t have the combination to this safe and wanted to have this opened. I received the call from the customer after the other locksmiths attempts failed.
Photo 1 is of the safe as I saw it when I first walked into the room. At first glance, the safe looks fine. However, upon closer inspection, you can see that there is something wrong with the hinges. Photo 2 is a closeup of the safe hinges. Notice the hinges have been cut. The locksmith cut these hinges thinking once they were cut, the door could be pried open from the hinge side. All properly built safes protect against this type of attack by having door bolts or a full length dead bar to prevent the door from being pried open on the hinge side. Photo 3 shows the remnants of the cut hinges and the hinge finials. Photo 4 shows a drilled hole made by a hole saw on the top of the safe. This hole was also made by the other locksmith. Why was this hole made here? There is no logical reason for the hole except for ignorance. Perhaps the locksmith thought the hole would be easier to make and would somehow allow access to the safe interior.
Photo 5 shows the safe open with the door on the floor after I opened it. Once the safe hinges are cut, there is nothing to support the safe when the door is swung open, thus the door is on the floor.
Photo 6 is of another safe as I saw it when I first arrived at the location. The customer had forgotten the combination to this safe and was moving. The safe need to be opened so the safe could be unbolted from the floor. As can be seen, the handle and keypad had been ripped clean off the safe. On this safe, the hinges are on the interior, otherwise they too would surely have been cut.
Photos 7 and 8 show the top and sides of the safe. The locksmith drilled multiple holes on the top and sides of the safe in an attempt to force back the door bolts. After that didn’t work, he proceeded to try to pry the safe door open which didn’t work either.
Photo 9 is a photo I took showing the mess the locksmith left behind because he didn’t even bother to clean up after himself. I asked the customer how long he spent working on the safe. The customer told me six hours of drilling, grinding and making noise and a mess.
Photo 10 shows the safe open with the door laying against it after I finished opening it.
Each customer ended up with a ruined safe that still needed to be opened and disposed of. The customer then spends additional money to purchase a new safe and have it delivered and installed. The cost for all of this is usually a multiple (4-7x) of what the opening cost would have been if the customer called us initially. Also, our opening charge is very frequently more expensive once someone else has worked on the safe due to others complicating the opening. This creates us extra work which is often more difficult to deal with than if the safe had been left alone.
If you experience a service related issue with your safe or you are locked out, save yourself the aggravation by calling us first, you’ll be glad you did.