Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

Legalized breaking and entering

For nearly two years, ever since the unfortunate events in Atlantic City at the 2011 ECAC Championship weekend, I've had only a single copy of each of the keys to my lockbox and storage unit. Since losing either of those single copies would be a huge problem, I kept them in the car and separated from my car key, since I access the storage unit far more often. Early last week, I had a need to get into the lockbox, thus necessitating a cold trip out to the car. I deduced that if I had two copies of each key, as I probably should, I wouldn't need to make such a trip, nor should I continue to allow a situation where a single mistake could cause a big headache. So last Wednesday, I had duplicates of each key made. At that time, I didn't think to test the new key to my storage unit; I'd just get to it the next time I needed to get in there.

That next time was Saturday afternoon. The key entered the lock but didn't turn. At first, I just figured the key was bad, and that as soon as I got my hands on the other one (the one I'd had prior to making the copy), I'd be fine. I went home, got that key, put it in the lock... and it didn't turn either. Public Storage of Northport, we have a problem. I've gone from having one good key, to thinking I had two, to actually having none.

I went to the office and explained the situation to the guy there. He said that for security reasons, they didn't keep spare keys. He also told me that I could have a locksmith come out, but he would charge an arm and a leg, and so my best bet would be to get some bolt cutters and cut the lock off, after which I could purchase a new lock right there at the office. That night at dinner, I filled my parents in, and Dad said he could get bolt cutters at work.

This morning, he brought them home. As soon as he handed them to me, it was off to the storage complex. I tried each key once more for good measure. I triple checked the number to the right of the door to make sure I was attacking the correct lock. And then I went to work. It was not easy. After about half an hour, this is all I was able to accomplish:

I couldn't get the bolt cutters anywhere near the actual bolt. At this point, I thought it might be a better idea to peel back the metal on the top in order to expose more of the bolt. For this, I needed pliers. Though completely unrelated, I also needed lunch. I returned home and obtained both of those things. I then drove back to the storage place and started going to town on the lock again. At a certain point, I realized that peeling back the metal was not a precursor to cutting the bolt. It was the main step in getting the lock off. There was no way I was getting the bolt between the maws of the bolt cutters. I'd instead have to literally rip the case open. It took me another hour after I got back up there, but I got this done. I used the pliers a little bit, but mostly I was using the bolt cutters essentially as a pair of super pliers. This was a bit dicey, as I had to make sure I didn't damage the latch assembly or dislodge it from the door. Here's what the old lock looked like at the end:

Once I'd gotten the lock off and gotten inside my unit, I went down to the office again, bought a new lock, and put in on. So now I've got a brand new lock with two working keys, eight days after I expected to.

(Addendum, 8:45 am, 3/15) I should add that the most likely cause for the keys no longer working in the lock is damage during the duplication process. I'm guessing that when the first key went into the machine, a little bit of metal may have been taken off, rendering that key unusable, and it was then copied.
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