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“No Damage After a Suicide Call”

Hey Martin,

I thought of you today on a call I took. It was a well-being check on a 66 year-old under circumstances suggesting she was probably dead inside, having committed suicide. All the doors were locked. I focused my attention on the two rear doors: each had the handleset and deadbolt both locked, but each handleset was improperly installed and easily bypassable with my trusty bank of credit cards.

The deadbolt was another story. Old, nameless, and formidable. I couldn’t get it. But the door had enough play that I could squeeze my knife blade in, and I was able to walk the bolt back into the door and push the door open. I have always remembered how you demonstrated that deadbolts are often not installed to allow the bolt to fully engage, thus letting us push it right back into the door. Viola!

The didn’t end well, as I suspected; she had died days before. But we did no damage, and didn’t add to the troubles of her family. I have said this to you before, but I am far more successful in exploiting defects in installation than I ever have been exploiting weaknesses in manufacturing. Bypassing is my go-to first-try, no matter how cool it may look to pick the lock (and it does look cool!).

Thank you again for the gift that keeps on giving!