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Hey there. I'm not one to just join a forum and start posting but I really don't know where to turn and am concerned about my security.
So if you all in your wisdom cloud would be able to answer this, I would be very grateful! I found a thread about lock-picking lubrication on this forum when searching "wax lock pick."
I came home from a vacation today and stuck my key in the deadbolt and what appears to be wax came out around the key. This struck me as very odd and immediately raised a red flag. I usually just lock the deadbolt because I'm kind of in the country, I probably left the doorknob unlocked. All windows were locked and the sliding glass door had a bar in it. Things were different inside and something was stolen.
There are a number of factors that complicate the issue. I was having a neighbor friend whom I've known and trusted for years come over once or twice to check on my cats. There was a hidden key that I had told only him about. An interior door which was deliberately open when I left (and the location of the stolen items), was now closed, a light which was on in the bathroom when I left, was off, and the toilet seat which was deliberately down when I left, was up.
What was stolen wasn't really significant, half a bottle of a certain desirable (and highly controlled) prescription drug. But the thief obviously thought I may not notice, because they left most of it. Surprise to them... I'm very aware of my surroundings. As you may assume, my concern is one of security and trying to figure out if I can really trust my "friend." He swears up and down that only he came to or in my house and that he didn't enter the room where the items were stolen, didn't open or close any doors, turn on or off any lights, and did not use the bathroom. He says that he came by on Saturday and when he left he locked the door knob and the dead bolt. Today (monday) the deadbolt was locked and had the wax and the doorknob was locked with no wax... the same keying is on both locks.
I told my neighbor about the wax and he says he didn't notice anything like that when he used the same locks on Saturday. I asked my other neighbors if they saw anyone around my house or suspicious activity and they said no but they did hear nearby dogs barking a lot around 6 or 7 on Sunday morning. My porch light was on the whole time.
One other thing. I live in my deceased father's house which has been in and out of foreclosure proceedings for quite some time. My first thought was that it was someone hired by the mortgage company or attorneys... maybe making a mold...? But further research and the realization that I had been robbed (although they could have taken much more) led me more toward lock-picked or my neighbor.
So the long and short of it... do you think my lock was picked? If so, it would have been by someone who knows exactly what I have and wanted just that. If not, it was my neighbor friend and then why was there wax in my deadbolt?
Oh, and what should I do? Calling the cops isn't an option.
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- Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:30 am
weird that calling the cops is not an option. it makes no sense that it was the guy with the key (he would need no wax) unless he immediately mentioned something about theives leaving wax residue behind from *insert invented burglary method here*
if the guy did give reason/theory about the wax it was him, lucky you didnt call the cops after all, do you have a well you've been meaning to cover? hmmmm?
regardless of the 'helpful' neighbor it was definately someone you know or who knows about you. this wasnt a burglar, this was some guy who was after your stash of whatever. sounds like you're keeping shady company- not surprising since you 'cant' call the cops for your 'medication'.
I punched punctuation right in the face!
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Wax can sometimes be left behind from impressioning, but this technique is very old school and only really used on warded locks, not pin tumblers. Are you sure it's wax? It could be some kind of attempt at lubricating the lock prior to picking with an EPG or similar, but proper silicone based lubricants won't leave this kind of residue. If they used GT85 or WD40 it might leave residue but it wouldn't be waxy. It's a lot more likely that somebody just found the key.
By the sounds of things, whoever was in your place felt comfortable there and wasn't bothered about covering the fact that they were there. They also stayed for a little while. Doesn't necessarily mean it was your friend, but seeing as there are no signs of forced entry and he had access to a key it's understandable to think it might have been him. However, you did leave the key on the property... it's not like you gave it to him to hold on to, it was hidden somewhere outside the house. Right? Thieves know to look for keys; your hidden place might not have been as hidden as you think.
So here are the options...
1. Someone found the key, used it to get in, locked up after themselves and put it back. Not unlikely, although statistically this would be a major coincidence. You go away, leave the key somewhere for your friend to use and during the time you were away someone comes along and finds it. Hmm.
2. Your friend is responsible. This is unfortunately the most likely, but you have to be very careful jumping to conclusions. The fact he denies such trivial things as using the bathroom or turning lights off is a red flag, but at the same time it isn't. Maybe he didn't use the toilet and he left the light on as a security measure. Conversely, maybe he did use the toilet and he turned it off to save electricity. Both are as likely as each other so whether he denies it or not is inconclusive either way. You need to rely on your gut. How did he react when you mentioned what was stolen? Was he nervous? Surprised? Angry? Did he flat out deny it or did he sit down with you and retrace his steps to try and figure things out?
It's pretty easy to spot a liar. If you actually accuse him, and I'm not saying you should, his reaction would probably be a dead giveaway. An innocent person may become upset or even angry that you suspect them. When they calm down, they'll try and help you as best they can. A guilty one will simply protest their innocence and in many cases will have a very rigid story to back up their claim. They might become irritable or uncomfortable, or even stubborn. But some people are more convincing liars than others, it depends on how well they believe their own version of events. Anyway, this is lockpicking101 not criminalpsychology101
3. Someone picked or impressioned the lock. In my opinion, unlikely. There is the situation with the foreclosure but we can rule that out 100%. The foreclosure hasn't been decided upon, so it's not likely that anyone would have needed access to the house. They would have written to you or left some sort of notice of visitation prior to just letting themselves in like that anyway. Entering the house without consent is a final means when other attempts to enter the property have been unattainable, ie. you haven't been reachable or present any time they required access. If they wanted in, you'd know about it, and they wouldn't just let themselves in without leaving a notice either. And they certainly wouldn't help themselves to your facilities, much less medication. That is highly unprofessional behaviour. The chances of a professional entering the property without leaving the notice behind and then someone else getting in to steal something? Insanely low odds. Although maybe, just maybe someone from the mortgage company let themselves in and DID leave a notice, didn't lock up after themselves, then someone else just walked in and stole stuff and decided to take the notice with them for some reason. Oh the mind boggles. But again, ridiculously unlikely.
So... someone lets themselves in, no forced entry, steals medication, they stayed for a while, and locked up after themselves. Clearly not the work of a law abiding person. But I honestly can't say what happened. Maybe your friend did it. Maybe he told someone about the location of the key, intentionally or not. Maybe someone found it. I highly doubt the lock was picked or impressioned, although the presence of "wax" has me stumped. A picture of this substance would help us determine what it actually is but it isn't gonna solve the puzzle.
I hate my brain sometimes. Now I'm hungry.
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- Location: Northern Ireland
I appreciate your responses! And though you may read into the circumstances or my (questionable and unwanted) acquaintances, I offer only the following: My prior description of the circumstances was deliberately vague due to the personal nature of it all. Some or all of the circumstantial information has been falsified. My privacy and security has been violated and I am in defense mode. The facts are the following: I was out of town. I hid a key for a neighbor. I came home. Wax was in the lock. One thing was missing and the house was not left as I told my neighbor to leave it. He says he did exactly as I asked him to do. The cats are fine.
Given the circumstances, my gut and your responses, I'm pretty convinced it was someone I know. I did ask my friend if he did it right after asking if anyone else had access to my house. He sounded genuinely concerned and didn't get angry. He also laid out what he did at my house step by step down to locking up and leaving, and ensuring that no one was watching when he retrieved and re-hid the key. He offered to come over and try to work it out with me. Also called to give updates on the animals while I was gone. I was too angry to invite him over.
I'm not going to say I did a wonderful job of hiding the key but it wasn't under the mat or on top of the door or porch light, it was under an old turtle shell on the ground with some bushes. Don't worry, I got the key and will never hide it again. But...
I still think the lock was picked. The thread I found was talking about using wax as a lubricant for lockpicking. Here's the key after I initially scraped off some of the wax and used it a few times.
And this is some of what I scraped off the key.
It looks like wax, feels like wax, balls up like wax, is cigarette tar yellow, and has no distinct smell. As far as my experience with waxes go (bee, paraffin, carnuaba, candle), it most resembles beeswax but without the smell. When I inserted the key, there was notable resistance for the first cm or so as the wax extruded out of the lock around the key... I was immediately freaked out.
There wasn't a ton of it in there and the lock works normally, if not a hair smoother. When I looked at the lock immediately prior to inserting the key that first time, I didn't notice anything on the surface. I would have noticed if the keyhole were totally covered... it was middle afternoon.
Has it been picked? If so, should I replace the lock? I don't see that working if I've got a real lock picker on my hands. I can't afford to get a security system, especially not in this house. Hell, I'm not a lockpicker and I can get in through the locked windows with a knife. I am moving out of town in a few months, but I'm scared to leave my house alone in the meantime and if they know me, they may know my sweet dog. They probably knew I was out of town which maybe means either they were watching my house or they frequently drive my neighborhood street... or they found out from my "friend."
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- Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:30 am
This is a somewhat odd situation and several aspects here are making my Spidey senses tingle. But I've seen lots of odd situations while working both in law enforcement and as a locksmith. Sometimes you figure it out, sometimes you don't.
Assuming you're a sane, rational person and not a delusional schizophrenic or a paranoid drug addict, here's my random guess as to what may have happened.
Someone with access to your key monkeyed with your stuff. As stated by others here, the person clearly felt comfortable in the home so it's probably someone you know. They stole your medication, possibly as a spur-of-the-moment thing. Later they probably panicked and realized that with the medication missing and no signs of forced entry, the finger would point at them, so in some lame attempt to be clever and cover their tracks, they decided to make it look like the lock was sabotaged by filling it with wax or something. This is the only reason I can come up with for the wax because I'm having trouble thinking of a functional or useful reason for the wax, as a part of any common bypass method.
Whatever the reason for the wax, and regardless of how they entered, your security has been breached, and since you're not using a lock with a restricted keyway, I would immediately replace your locks or have them rekeyed. As for the one with the wax, I'd replace that one as the wax may in the long run obstruct it's proper operation.
What I'm most curious about, is why calling the cops isn't an option. I can make a guess as to why. I don't expect you to answer, because I probably wouldn't believe the answer anyways. In any case, good luck. And remember, tomorrow you need to call a locksmith or visit the hardware store.
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- Location: Utah, USA
a wax impression of a key was used to create a copy, when Eamon De Valera got out of killmainham when he was about to be shot.
but that is a really old technique, yet familiar to people who read old english thrillers.
wax may have gotten on the key if your neighbor decided to make an impression of that key.
If you know how to recombinate a pin tumbler now would be a good time to change the bitting. equally he may have taken the key to the hardware store and had it copied,
you Have not lost much to this intrusion, but now you need to put a stop to any comeback.
its more likely that a key was used than that your lock was picked. the object taken sounds like a pain pill oxycontin type, and this kind of thing is insidious, people who are very straight can get addicted and then they just act like addicts, impulsively taking the pills and lying to cover up or to scam doctors.
I think you should tweak your security and then just forget the minor loss, and get someone else to take care of the cat next time.
Wake up and smell the Kafka!!!
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Hey, thanks for all the informed responses! Now that its been a few days I'm feeling better about the situation. I'm getting rid of all my dad's old cancer medications and buckling down to get out of town.
A final thought. I kept trying to vindicate my neighbor friend in my mind... but my mindset has evolved. I'm not saying he did it, but in the end, he - and I - are the one's responsible. I have personally learned in the past that this friend tells everyone else's business to a few key shady and gossiping characters. He and his acquaintances are all addicted to one substance or another. He may not divulge personal information maliciously, but he drinks and talks way too much and doesn't much grasp the concepts of discretion or modesty. At least once he's shared information that I specifically asked him not to. So anybody that would have done the deed, got their intelligence as a result of him. It boils down to my mistake of trusting an addict...
Anyway, thank you for your attention to my problem and know that I am taking rational precautionary steps! Now that I'm registered here, perhaps I'll poke around and learn more about working with locks.
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I hope things work out. Remember to change those locks.
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