Nefarious skills put to positive use

Amy and I have known it was coming. From the day we moved in we dreaded it but we knew it was unavoidable…sooner or later we were going to lock ourselves out of the house. The issue is the style of lock. On the house we were renting they were pop-locks where they would unlock anytime you opened them from the inside. On this house they’re twist locks that stay the way they were last set. So whereas before we knew that the act of stepping out of the house would unlock it – now if we step out while it’s locked it stays locked.

I got myself with it once already. I forgot that the knob on my office was locked and closed it behind me when I went inside to get a drink. When I came out of the house I did the same thing. Whoops. Thankfully Amy was at work and had her keys with her…so it was only a matter of entertaining myself in the backyard until she got back. I lit a fire in the firepit (using the gas stovetop to light a scrap of paper since I didn’t have a lighter.) Eventually I got bored and started trying to find a way to get into my office through the 2nd story window….I was about to try boosting myself up when Amy pulled in the drive.

This morning I stepped out to throw out a box of citrus that was past it’s prime and infested with fruit flies. As I was walking out I called to Amy “Hey, you want to come out and see the yard now that the spare ficus is gone?” and continued on my way. Amy followed…but didn’t notice the doorknob was locked as she pulled it shut behind her. And neither of us had our keys. Crud.

Psammy bless her heart just isn’t smart enough to get our keys off the hooks and bring them to us…so she had full reign of the house through her dog door but we were locked out. I’ve been leaving one of the windows unlocked lately so that was my first idea…but alas I did lock it yesterday. Thankfully it was only the door knob and not the deadbolt that was locked. But we had to get back in, and I really didn’t want to call a locksmith on a Sunday.

Hmm…I tried a few bent pieces of wire to see if I could get behind the bolt and pull it loose…but they were all either too thick or too weak. I remembered my lockpicks were in my office…so I went ahead and fully executed my earlier plan of hoisting myself in through the 2nd story office. Climbing on a very precarious stack of items found in the yard I managed to get myself up and into the window. With the office now open I had a range of new tools available including my lockpicks. But alas, while I can open most padlocks in just a few minutes I’ve never managed to open a door lock…and today was not going to be my day to do it.

So I was running out of ideas. I could keep trying with the picks…and eventually would probably get it…but we could be there all day. There was one more angle I had going for me though. When we moved into the house it took no less than 3 keys to open both the front and back door due to the combination of mismatched locks that came with the house and the locks I added when I put in our security door. We wanted to get them rekeyed…but didn’t want to have to make a dozen or so trips to the store to get them all rekeyed. And with 2 deadbolts keyed on both side we had 8 holes to rekey…that’s like $50 plus the time to go up and back multiple times…no thanks!

I ended up finding a rekey kit at Home Depot for $12. But it was limited. It could only do a couple of locks and only to the keys that it came with. Still for $12 I figured it was worth a try. And it worked pretty well…by using a combination of the pins it came with and the pins I took out of the existing locks I managed to get all of the locks working with the key that had come with our newest deadbolt. Well, kind of. Some of the pins were a size off so the locks weren’t very smooth, but thanks to manufacturing flaws they still could be opened. A day or two later I found a full set of Schlage pins on ebay for $10 and when they arrived it was only a matter of minutes to get everything working smooth.

The one thing that continued to bug me though was the side door. The knob was shiny gold and didn’t match any other knobs in or on the house….and the deadbolt was a double key even though there was no need for the interior key on that one. So I’ve been meaning to get a new knob/deadbolt set for that door so it would match the rest of the house. And so once all other avenues of house entry had been exhausted I turned to Amy and said “How about we finally put a new knob on today?” With Amy in agreement I then got to show her just how easy it is to break into a house without a deadbolt.

I had a hammer in the office so I grabbed it. First swing dented the doorknob pretty good but didn’t do much else. Second blow was on the money though and knocked the knob right off. Quick twist with a screwdriver and we were in. Hardly made any noise even…yep, it really is easy to break into a house if there’s no deadbolt. $55 later at Home Depot we had a new matching deadbolt (Lever operated inside) and knob. Few minutes with my pin collection and I had them rekeyed to match and our side door now matches the rest of the house. The new knob is a lot nicer and sturdier too so that’s a bonus.

Guess it’s time to get a few spare keys made and drop them off at some Friends. I did have my cell phone with me so if someone had had a spare key we could have called them. Amy tells me she has a history of locking herself out…so between that and how easy it is to do with these locks we really should have a plan B that doesn’t include forced entry and buying new locks!

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1 comment

  1. Nice story! I’m betting you’ll get plenty of practice between the two of you locking yourselves out in years to come:)

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