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QUESTION: I have just moved my parents from their house to an assisted living facility. I had to leave an old (circa 1950) Diebold safe behind. It is designated as "one hour safe" and certified as model#14493. The safe is currently locked , and my father , who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease , cannot remember the combination or if anything is in the safe. Could you recommend a safecracker in the area of Phoenix , Arizona? I have tried contacting locksmiths in the city , but they are only interested in drilling the safe thereby rendering it nonfunctional.

ANSWER: Sue,

First a number of problems with your assessments - First as the safe is "over" 50 years old, it does NOT meet any current standards for fire resistance, so it has little value in this area.   Also as it is currently locked up, it actually has a negative value.

Second - I'm not sure where you came up with the idea that if the safe was "DRILLED", it would render it nonfunctional or useless.   Drilling if done correctly by a trained safe technician will NOT ruin the safe, and in most cases will not damage the lock.   The single small hole, can easily be repaired.
If you are assuming that every locksmith or safe technician should be able to manipulate the lock open - you have a couple of misconceptions or have been watching too many movies.   While manipulation is possible, it is never a guaranteed method, and you may not have anyone in your area who is trained in this method of opening safes.    If you do find someone who is trained, you may be paying for the "service", and NOT the end result.   Drilling is a guaranteed method of opening the safe, AND if done correctly will NOT damage or ruin the safe.  Obviously if you have a locksmith who is not trained, knowledgeable or does not have the correct equipment, they could easily damage or ruin the safe.

As far as companies in the Phoenix area, I have two companies that we use, and I'm not aware of them ever ruining a safe, intentionally.

Interstate Lock & Safe
480-964-9092          Seth Blumberg
16223 N 43rd St.
Phoenix, AZ  85032

Hicks Safe & Locks
602-955-8966
2336 N 32 St
Phoenix, AZ  85008

Call them up, and discuss having your safe opened, what they plan, repairs, and costs.   You should have a firm idea of what will happen to open AND repair your safe, AND how much the entire work will cost.   Anyone that can't give you a firm price for their mobile service charge, labor and any possible parts (worst case scenario), should NOT be used.

Hope this helps,






---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Actually, I have contacted Interstate Safe. The technician stated unequivocally that the safe would be damaged by drilling. (I do NOT watch television). I will contact Hicks. Thanks for the reply.

Answer
Thanks Sue,

I don't normally recommend anyone that has an attitude up front that they will intentionally damage something.    As stated though, opening the container by drilling - WHEN DONE CORRECTLY - will not damage the container, and it can be easily repaired.    Locksmiths AND so called safe technicians who don't have a problem ruining a container should be avoided.

Expecting this type of service would be similar to taking your car in for an oil change and finding out the mechanic was going to ruin your engine to change the oil.    I would never recommend that mechanic for the same reason that I would not recommend a locksmith who thinks the "easy way" is to destroy something and then sell you a new one.

I'll have to make some phone calls to Interstate and talk with Seth, I though his guys were better than this.

Hope you get better results with Hicks.    I do have a couple more options, however they are much farther away, and you indicated you wanted someone in the Phoenix area.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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