Safecracking Job In New Jersey

Safecracking Job In New Jersey
No "Masters" at Work There

This happened in the past several weeks, I guess.

A classic example of ignorant reporters quoting ignorant cops on incorrect facts, which go on to assume a life and mythology of their own. Not using "ignorant" in a derogatory sense here.

"Ignorant" just means "doesn't know." And it's true: Most people including crime reporters and investigating cops don't have a comprehensive grasp of technical facts about safes, the protection they do and don't provide, and what it takes to get one open (or to at least extract the contents).

However, people (including reporters) tend to attribute deep knowledge and expertise to all cops with respect to knowledge of safecracking tools and techniques. The result is misinformation. It's the same as me saying, "cops use two-way radios in their work, therefore they're all radio communications experts."

If you go to the link and look at the pictures and read the story, you might come away thinking a gang of high-end criminal safecrackers visited the victim.

The safe burglary victim might have (or might not have) had a half million dollars' worth of coins in his safe. Only he knows for sure. So no argument there.

However, it did not take the burglars 6 hours (according to investigators' estimates) to make that hole in that safe door. That is, not unless they stopped for a lot of long breaks.

The door was not made of thick steel and concrete. That safe door is composed of what is considered in the safe industry to be a (very) thin outer skin of steel, then a layer of poured-in filling material that looks like concrete when it cures. It's much much lighter and far less dense than concrete though. It's there to insulate (paper) safe contents against fire damage. After the fill there's another very thin layer of steel, upon which the lock is mounted.

In short, the coin collctor/safe burglary victim couldn't see his way clear to properly insuring his half-million dollar collection because of the prohibitive cost of insurance. Had he bought insurance coverage, one of the first things his agent would have told him to get would have been a safe designed for burglary, not fire protection.

There's a very big difference in the design and construction of a high security burglary resistive safe as compared to the design and construction of what you see in this story. The safe this man chose to put his tangible valuables into was an imported fire safe of the sort that have brought into this country by the containerload for at least the last twenty years.

Safe technicians in the US call safes like the one used by the coin collector Imported Clones or Fire Clones, because they seem to originate at the same factory and bear only a few cosmetic differences. A safe tech in the US who knows what he or she is doing can usually open one of these in under 10 minutes, and very neatly. A brute-force burglar who knows what the hell he's up to might take as long as 30 minutes.

The biggest and perhaps most appealing difference is the safe used by the coin collector cost only the merest fraction of what he would have paid for a safe that was appropriate to protect contents of the dollar value he reported.

So please don't think the coin collector was victimized by a high-end gang of master criminals. He was victimized by having been too cheap to protect himself properly. It's more common for people who think things through to cringe at the ongoing cost and requirements of insurance coverage, then compensate by overkill on the one-time cost of a high quality safe. The coin collector cheaped out on all counts -- no insurance, and a safe that amounted to a discount shoebox. Sorry Bud . . .

If you remember Gary Larsen's "Far Side" comic, think back to the one about "Ernie's Discount Shark Cages."

Besides the difference in design intent and construction,

and fire protection

First, the police were very wrong in their time estimate.


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