Sea Star 7

1998 Bayliner LeClercq

We are never going to make it as thieves

One of the owners here in Mexico, Pam, has a wall safe – same as we do – that she’s lost the combination to.  So Kelly and Melissa get it in their heads to try and crack the safe.  How hard can it be?

Melissa starts by playing with our safe in our unit.  She listens to the tumblers – which can be easily heard without any listening devices.  She can also feel as she turns the dial where things feel “stickier” as if maybe that is where the slots are.  But the numbers don’t quite line up with what we know to be the combination.  We speculate there might be an offset of some kind.  Problem is that even with all this data – there would still be over 300 combinations to try.  Hmmm.

We contact Pam to see if she still has a key.  She says she does not.  We go over to her place and find the key in the safe.  Apparently, Pam was talking about a different safe.  We try to feel for and listen for the slots same as on our safe, but are not having much luck.

We go find a YouTube video showing the guts inside our unit.  Its 20+ years old, but still, there’s some guy who took his apart and filmed it.  Gotta love the internet.  But even with this knowledge we still are not able to figure out how to crack it.

Melissa does an internet search on safe cracking techniques.  We find a set of instructions that lets you “map” the dials to find where the slots are.  Melissa grabs our stethoscope and tries to listen for the slots on Pam’s safe.  No luck, the stethoscope is crap and doesn’t work worth diddly.  She takes the stethoscope back to our unit, and Nicole (who is studying to be a nurse) can’t figure out why the stethoscope doesn’t work either.  We can’t even hear our own hearts with it.  That is until Kelly comes to see what we are doing.   He starts laughing.  Apparently, you have to know to turn the bell (the metal thing at the end) the right direction.  Leave it to the paramedic.

Obviously at this point, Kelly has to come listen to Pam’s safe himself.  There are spreadsheets now where we record the data as we go.  Kelly turns the dial and Melissa records the data.  We go through the exercise of resetting the safe and listening for the “clicks” about 30 times to map the whole dial.  But even following the procedure, we still can’t open Pam’s safe.

We decide to go back to our unit, map our dial using the procedure and see if we can crack it on a safe we know the combination to.  Nope.  No such luck.  We decide to open our safe and take the back off so we can see what is happening with the mechanism as we go through all these tests.  Fascinating.

We realize that none of the things we have done thus far mean anything because the safe design is such that the back most plate is larger than all the others – so we only hear things that help us to detect the last of the three digits in the combination.  Which helps not a whit because if you know the first two, you can just slowly turn the knob and find the last number in the combo anyway.

 In one last attempt to crack the safe, we decide to ask an AI bot how to crack it.  Here was the bots response.

Great.  We are probably now on some government watch list.

The only thing we are now certain of is that Pam’s safe is hopelessly broken.  We now know that the mechanism inside is no longer connected to the knob we are turning.  And that all the “clicking” we think we heard is just the knob rubbing against a screw that someone removed and put back in – probably in a misguided attempt to break into the safe at some point in the past.

In discussion with the neighbors, we realize Mark’s safe is also cannot be opened due to a missing combination.  We experiment with it a bit, and were able to confirm without question that Pam’s unit is hopelessly broken.  Even if we knew the combo, we wouldn’t be able to open the safe.  And there is no way to crack Mark’s safe either.

The only option remaining (should the owners wish to) is to jackhammer the safes out of the concrete and drill the locks out.

Dang it.  We were sure there was a million dollars in gold bars in there.

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