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Old November 5, 2005, 12:01 AM   #1
SixDemonBag
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What To Do When Someone has Your House Key

Long story short someone ripped a lock box off the cement wall outside my building and stole the master key for every unit/door in the building. They're not going to be able to replace my lock until Tuesday. I suspect it to be someone who knows what's inside some of these lofts, perhaps the window washing guys who have clear view into every unit while they work.

I now have a situation on my hands. There are only two entrances to my unit, one upstairs near the washer/dyer/gun safe and one downstairs. My girlfriend is scared now because the element of surprise is working against us. I have no doubt the person(s) who destroyed a steel lock box fixed to a cement wall in the well lit main enterance w/ security cameras is braisen enough to enter a persons home. The building is a very nice building....all yuppie types who have a bit of change in their pockets, which is why I believe such effort was put into getting the master key.

Now, I have some ideas for taking away the element of surprise by rigging the doors with noise devices of some sort, but no real solid plan of attack.

Suggestions?
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Old November 5, 2005, 12:17 AM   #2
Sir William
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Short answer, purchase a door brace/block for when you are home, sleep without worry. When you aren't home, hang a biohazard sign on both doors with AIDS/LA SIDA lettering. There are motel door alarms a la smoke alarm alert.
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Old November 5, 2005, 01:32 AM   #3
stratus
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What Sir William said. And, just be more vigilant in general. Wouldn't be a bad idea to tie some empty tin cans to your doorknob to make some (additional) noise if someone manages to break in. Sleep within arm's reach of the best gun you have... man, I dunno what else to suggest besides that. Just be alert.
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Old November 5, 2005, 01:54 AM   #4
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If you feel your security is compromised and as such poses a threat to you and/or your property, then have the lock changed out yourself.

My guess is that they will not replace your lock or anyone else's, but just rekey to a different pattern master. If they provide you with keys to your 'new' lock and the keys are not new, do not trust that your lock has been changed outside of the original master.

I don't know the laws of your state, but this sort of thing should be considered an emergency situation for the entire building and the landlord should be having the job not right now, not in several days. It is an emergency because the landlord can't vouch for the security of the building's locks that the landlord is obliged to provide to you. I would even hazard a guess that your lease says you do not have the option of rekeying your lock yourself or that if you rekey the lock yourself, then you pay for the work and provide a spare key to the landlord.

As for solid plan of attack in your situation and based on the fact that I do not know your legal options, but I would suggest the noise makers as you describe and upon hearing them, move to a location of concealment and/or cover that will force the bad guy(s) by you to get to you and your girlfriend's normal location. Once the bad guy approaches your position, you do whatever is necessary to stop the threat. At the same time, the girlfriend should be on the phone with 911.

Many folks think you need to give some sort of verbal or mechanical challenge to the intruder to let him know he is unwelcome and in harm's way. If the guy has set off your noise makers and not fled, then he is very brazen and represents a huge threat to you and your girlfriend. Warnings are not likely to change his mind. In such a situation (assuming it is legal) I would be more inclined to provide the first warning/challenge COM.
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Old November 5, 2005, 02:07 AM   #5
BobK
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I am a locksmith

You have the right to protect yourself. Buy a new lock now or a door prop as has been suggested. Prop anything against the door tonight if need be. When they come to change your lock, MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT USE THE SAME MASTER KEY. As a matter of fact, DEMAND that they do not. This past week I changed almost 200 locks on three different apartment buildings because a master key was stolen. We had to generate a new master key system and change every single lock and provide all new keys.
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Old November 5, 2005, 02:08 AM   #6
SixDemonBag
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Thanks for the responses. Everyone in this building owns, we have a HOA, so I may just have the lock re-keyed myself and tell thanks but no thanks when they show up with the next "accident" waiting to happen. The noise makers will be implemented as well as a plan if someone does try to enter. I guess I can just sit tight and hope for the best until I get the locks sorted out.

Also, does anyone know the legality of concealed carry elsewhere in the building....say in the 2 level parking garage, common areas, etc.? Are these areas considered the same as being in my home due to the technical ownership of all who pay their HOA dues? I'd hate to run into the people responsible for this with my pants down if they're trying to break into a unit or make away with stolen property.
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Old November 5, 2005, 05:16 AM   #7
chrisandclauida2
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change it your self. it is cheap easy and no one should have a master to your home. screw thr ccr,s just dont tell them.
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Old November 5, 2005, 03:37 PM   #8
svtruth
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Signs

Oleg Volk has a nice poster or two of doors with used targets with tight groups on them.
Good luck.
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Old November 5, 2005, 04:47 PM   #9
almark
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SixDemonBag: Interesting username... welcome to TFL!

You might wanna check out this thread for some ideas too: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=183904

I'd suggest changing the lock yourself if you're going to be without locks for more than a day... and I wouldn't trust the contracted locksmith to necessarily get it done by the time they state either (nothing against locksmiths... but too many times it's been like everything else... "I'll be here next monday..." which turns into the next monday, and the next, and the next...) Anyway, changing at least the deadbolt by yourself would be a good idea, IMO.
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Old November 5, 2005, 07:51 PM   #10
CraigJS
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Didn't the security cams show who did it?? Even simple wedges under the door would be a quick temporary safeguard. If you have to take a day off from work and "Git-er Done".
Check out www.packing.org/state/index.jsp/california they have some info on your carry rights/laws.
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Old November 5, 2005, 10:31 PM   #11
Wog
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Get thee to Radio shack. They have "Security Combo" sets that include several little crap personal alarms, but what you want is the doorstop alarm in them. They run off a 12V battery and when a door opens, it hits the contact plate and the alarm is SHRILL.

I had to go babysit the cousins once two days after their house had been robbed. The thieves had kicked the door in and my uncle had only been able to get the doorknob lock working. I'm used to sleeping with an alarm system so there was NO WAY IN HECK I was going to worry about every bump in the night. I set those puppies on each door, stuffed my weapon and holster between the mattress and springs, and slept very well.

Those sets are $10 apiece, btw. The personal alarms that come with it are crap but fun to play with.
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Old November 5, 2005, 11:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
If you feel your security is compromised and as such poses a threat to you and/or your property, then have the lock changed out yourself.
+1

If the condos are owned, then why is there a master key anyway?

If you have a CCW license, you can carry anywhere it is legal in your state. If you have not gotten a CCW license yet, get the process started. Without one, you cannot legally carry concealed anywhere except Vermont or Alaska (I think Alaska just joined theland of the free.) OOps, I see you are in Kalfornia. Make some movies, get elected, and then change the laws.
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Old November 6, 2005, 12:26 AM   #13
springmom
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Master key rationale

Because condo maintenance is usually done by the manager of the place. They need to be able to get in if, say, the air conditioning is leaking down your walls or some such. My mother in law has a condo in Florida and the manager and her husband either do maintenance or make sure the maintenance specialists (electricians, plumbers, air conditioning repair) can get in. Especially down there, where condos are frequently not occupied year-round, it's essential.

HTH,

Springmom
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Old November 6, 2005, 12:42 AM   #14
Mikeyboy
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I would go with Wogs suggestion. Home Depot has a keypad motion sensor alarm for about $20. Give all the residence the code and put one inside the walkway at each door. For your door get a cheap magnetic contact alarm for the door for about 5 bucks. I have a security system for my house but one weak point is a cellar window, where if breeched nothing will go off and the guy is in the house. Boom, $5 bucks later and I sleep better.
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Old November 6, 2005, 11:08 AM   #15
gddyup
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They stole the Fire Departments KnoxBox with the master keys inside it. Those keys are what we use to gain entry into apartment buildings and any locked doors regarding it.

Quote:
You have the right to protect yourself. Buy a new lock now or a door prop as has been suggested. Prop anything against the door tonight if need be. When they come to change your lock, MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT USE THE SAME MASTER KEY. As a matter of fact, DEMAND that they do not. This past week I changed almost 200 locks on three different apartment buildings because a master key was stolen. We had to generate a new master key system and change every single lock and provide all new keys.
This is typically what I have seen in my local communities. Anytime a master keyset has been compromised for whatever reason, the owners have had all the locks on the premisis changed out or re-coded for a new master. That's the safest way to ensure security and to make sure the FD doesn't start busting down doors if we need access.

And we WILL break down doors without any questions asked if we need access to anything when we get called out. It's usually cheaper for the owner to change locks than to change doors...
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Old November 7, 2005, 08:44 PM   #16
BobK
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If it is a condo and something happens such as a water leak etc..... Tough. Too bad. So sorry. NOBODY gets a key to my residense. I've seen too much of this stuff that happens everyday. Give them emergency phone numbers. If you out of town give a key to someone you can trust without a doubt. There are ways around giving up a key to the home owners association.

Gddyup, I have repaired damage done by the FD many times. Most folks end up buying a Knox box soon after.
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Old November 7, 2005, 09:32 PM   #17
Varmint Eviscerator
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hang a curtain in front of a triangle, have thin wire strung on the triangle, the triangle must be at least 5'5'' and have some kinda noise maker on it, if the bg is brave enought to look behind the curtain he will immediatly encounter wires and maybe cans if you wish, this will scare or entagle him. also the curatin prevents a bg with eyes acustomed to the dark from seeing you little wire/can contraption,make the curtain grey or light black
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Old November 8, 2005, 09:04 AM   #18
Mikeyboy
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Quote:
Long story short someone ripped a lock box off the cement wall outside my building and stole the master key for every unit/door in the building. They're not going to be able to replace my lock until Tuesday.
Hey six?? its Tuesday...did the locksmith fix it yet, or more importantly did anything bad happen?
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Old November 23, 2005, 04:12 PM   #19
CyberSEAL
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Get an ADT system...
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Old November 23, 2005, 05:18 PM   #20
coolridelude
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put bells on your doors, that is what i do and i put a chair behind the door, so no one can just kick it in. love dead bolts.
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