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Has my lock been picked/door been forced?

Having read the FAQ's you are still unfulfilled and seek more enlightenment, so post your general questions here.

Moderators: digital_blue, zeke79

Has my lock been picked/door been forced?

Postby thisnameistaken » Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:34 am

Hi. I'm new. I'm not a locksmith or hobbyist, I just wondered if anyone could help with this:

I think someone's been trying to get into my house because the front door lock has suddenly got very stiff (like, overnight), and neither of my keys turn it very well, so it's not likely to be a damaged key. I'm not sure if they've tried to force the door or pick the lock or what, but I wondered if there were any obvious tell-tale signs I could look for?

The door itself and the door jamb are fine - no splintered wood or splits or anything like that. Tried looking to see if the deadbolt is bent but it doesn't look like it to the naked eye at least. To be honest I don't know what it looked like in the first place anyway.

Can't give you any specifics about the lock (they're all the same to me). It's not one of those that screw onto the face of the door though, it's fitted into the door, and it just has the one bolt (typical front door lock in the UK (mortice lock?), if any of you are from the UK).

I might be being paranoid, but I saw someone try my door a couple of months ago at about 2am when it was locked (I was inside and watched the handle moving up and down as they tried it), so I want to try to establish if someone has since tried to defeat the lock.

Any advice much appreciated.
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Postby Houdini Locksmiths » Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:44 am

If your looking for an indication that the lock has been picked,(attempted) try looking for light scratch marks on the face of the lock. Either at the top or bottom of the key way.

Hope this helps

Harry
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Postby lockpickroy » Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:07 am

it is also possable if your lock has a high tolerance your key or pins may be wore down a bit or the lock may need to be lubercated
Lock picking hobbyist turned licensed locksmith thanks in part to lp101.com
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Postby toomush2drink » Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:10 am

To help us help you can you give us a better description of your lock ? Does it have any writing on the face plate ? Does it say 3 lever, 5 lever or have bs3621 on the plate ? If you look throught the keyhole what do you see ? , colour, any dimples or a circular piece at the top of the keyhole with a small cut out. Im trying to keep this simple without using the correct terminology so as not to confuse you :wink: .
It doesnt sound as if anyone has entered or you would probably be missing something but if you are that worried go and get yourself a tower bolt or sash jammer or call a locksmith to upgrade your security :D
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Postby mcm151201 » Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:12 am

If i ever suspected that some1 had tried to pick my lock and night, i would get a sticky note and write "Smile, your on camera!" and put it in REALLY small words next to the lock. That way they'll have to get really close to read it and once they do they'll walk away thinking they've been video taped. Lol...
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Postby HeadHunterCEO » Sun Jun 13, 2004 12:38 pm

wood frames are afected by temp hmidity chanegs

metal is not not and binding enses
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Postby Ice » Sun Jun 13, 2004 2:09 pm

I was just about to suggest the same thing - about weathering. I know I'm greatly affected between hot/dry and cold/wet months as sometimes my door closes easily, and other times I have to push to get it closed. It's annoying, but that's what it is. If this is not your case (as this doesn't happen overnight) - do you have any weather stripping or anything around/near your door? I've seen weather stripping lose its "grip" around the frame and slip to make the door hard to close/open, etc. Then, with the door slightly out of place, the lock will also be difficult to use. Usually it's something quite innocent, but hope you find out what it is! :)
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Postby thisnameistaken » Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:44 am

toomush2drink wrote:To help us help you can you give us a better description of your lock ? Does it have any writing on the face plate ? Does it say 3 lever, 5 lever or have bs3621 on the plate ?


Right then... It's got a BS mark on it but I can't read the number (presumably BS3621, then). I think the brand name is "Egg" (all lowercase in a very chubby, rounded sans font), and it has "5 lever" stamped underneath that. There's also an odd-looking logo - looks a bit like a sycamore seed, standing vertically, although it might be a profile of a bird's head with really tall plumage, I can't tell.

The house is only three years old, by the way, so it shouldn't be an ancient lock I don't suppose.

toomush2drink wrote:If you look throught the keyhole what do you see ? , colour, any dimples or a circular piece at the top of the keyhole with a small cut out.


Nothing like that, that I can see. No colours - the steel just looks grey. The "barrel" of the lock looks totally featureless, save for the gap at the bottom where the key goes in.

As for scratches around the lock - I think most of these have been done with the keys. I've had a good nosey in there and can't see anything special at all. False alarm, maybe.

To the suggestions of weathering: Yeah that would've been my first suspicion too, but it's been baking hot here in the UK for a few weeks, no real change in weather at all, and the door doesn't seem to be affected when the seasons change anyway.

I can only assume some smackhead's been half-heartedly trying to force it so I'll have to go buy a cricket bat. Living in Yorkshire, you can do that without arousing too much suspicion ;O)
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Postby quicklocks » Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:43 am

i suggest you change the lock,check your other doors and widows and get some out side lights fitted (theifs dont like tobe flood lit) and a good alarm

the theif tryed your door as he/she thinks its a easy target. so make it hard for the robbing t**ts that way they will go some where else to get the cash for their next fix..... :x rant rant rant :x

or

:lol: leave the front door open and buy a rottweiler and leave it in your front room :lol:
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Postby toomush2drink » Mon Jun 14, 2004 6:09 am

As its a british standard lock you should be ok as most people dont have the ability to pick them. I have a curtain pick that can pick these locks and i hold my hands up and say its not easy by a long shot, it takes a lot of practice and any thief who has got his hands on the tool and spent ages practising will get in eventually but its not the sort of thing your average crook would do. The only thing i can think of is that that somebody tried having a poke around with a piece of wire and maybe bent a spacer between the levers if this lock contains them.
If you use the bat go for a six :lol:
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Postby jason » Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:49 pm

Good call about the floodlights - try and get one which has PIR (passive Infra Red) to switch it one (saves burning electricity) they are about 5 - 7 quid from B & Q.

Also pop along to Maplins and get one of their dummy cameras (about 15 quid) - I fit these in places where they are not likely to have the money to afford monitoring services but the average w**nker isn't going to want to take the chance.

As regards the markings I note that some of the BS sashlocks made by "Legge" are finished in a dull grey (I was walking around a builder's merchants and noted that).

You say that you think it is "egg" and has a birds head on it. It is possible that the door was slightly out of alignment and that has rubbed part of the face, with all the dry weather we have had over here - I'm wondering whether the screws holding the hinge have dropped a little which would drag on the bolt making it hard to operate with the key. Have a look at the hinges and see whether the screws are loose.

Just a process of elimination based on what I've read (probably completely wrong though)
sledgehammers make excellent back up picks!
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Postby quicklocks » Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:04 am

after tightening the screws on the door :D try a little wd40 on the bolt dont spray it into the lock :D and you feel confident enuf. if this doesnt work take the lock out the door and very carefully take the top off and see if there is any damage inside or a spider or some other insect hasnt made their home inside :? . then carefully clean the inside of the lock with some loo roll :) and put it back together (usualy the reverse of taking it apart)
you will learn a lot from this
make sure you have plenty of room to work and set out the peices in the right order :D
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