I found a locked safe hidden at the back of a closet in my new house

Look at this way, what a great opportunity to pull an “FBI?” Call the manufacturer of the safe and ask them to create a device to brute force crack your safe!


Bonus points if he builds one out of Legos.


That dial has 100 digits on it, but if I recall, there are generally fewer stops in the internal wheels, so adjacent numbers are actually the same number. So let’s say 50 possibilities.

50 x 50 x 50 = 125,000 possibilities.

One try every three seconds is 4.3 days of non-stop trying.

You just bought the house. So you’re planning on being there for at least five years. If you devote a mere ten minutes a day to this project, you’ll open it in a maximum of 20 months, or, on average, under a year (i.e. if you average out all the alternate-reality Robs).


The advice here is good - try to avoid destroying the safe, a cool old vintage safe is likely to be worth more than the anything/nothing currently inside of it. If you can extract it from the closet you could work on it at your leisure. After you get in non-destructively you could set it up as a cool end table, or sell it to a collector.


Of course … I don’t know what I was thinking …


The default combination for a new safe is 50. If a locksmith has the proper change key available it is good practice to return the lock to 50 if a used safe changes hands. This way there is no risk of losing the combination and making the safe practically useless. It would then be up to the new owner to have it set with a 3 digit combination of their choice. So always try the single digit 50 first. Rotate a minimum of 4 times to the left, stop on 50, rotate right until it stops.


Subpoena Yale and order them to use their backdoor unlocking methods.


i wonder how many previous owners also assumed it was empty.


Reply from Yale!

Rob, Thank you for the inquiry on the legacy safe in your possession. Yale has not produced this model safe for many years, nor do we have records of what combinations or key codes were used with those devices. The only advise we have is that you contact a well-established locksmith or safe technician that may have a means of opening the safe.

Thank you,

Technical Product Support team


I am partial to the Modesty Blaise method of safecracking myself, but it, too, is unsuitable if you care about the house the safe is in:

The crane was a twenty-three ton Ruston Bucyrus with a fifty-five foot
derrick… Wee Jock Miller chewed on the end of an unlit cigarette, watching
the swing of the ball, and pushed the slewing lever forward, aiming to strike
just below where the safe stood. It was there all right. He had seen the side of
it after flicking the ball into the room to drag the edge of broken brickwork
away. It stood in the exact position marked on the plan Modesty Blaise had
produced for him… The ball struck precisely where he had aimed it. Brickwork
shattered and fell. Now the end of the floor joists beneath the safe had no
support. He slewed the derrick smoothly, ready for another blow, but it was not
needed. The joists sagged. The safe, with bits of brickwork still adhering to
its back, toppled outwards and fell to the pavement with a single loud,
crunching clang.

After WIllie Garvin picks the safe up with a front loader, they cart it off to a nice secluded spot and open it with a “thermic lance,” aka a thermite-based tool for melting holes in steel.

(Quote from Peter O’Donnell, The Impossible Virgin)


you could use this as basis for another article in a new “found a safe in my home” series


Frauenfelder’s kids could probably have that thing open in three minutes flat.


Also, I demand that this be done live on the internet.


You’d best leave it locked if you want to avoid some vaguely entertaining Christian adventures that get more and more heavy-handed as the adventures get less entertaining.


Oops, meant to do this one:


The real good ones have been cursed so much that they don’t even bother anymore


I usually just try all the possible combinations. But first I print them all out on a piece of paper, and I cross them off as I do them, picking likely-looking combos first rather than just starting at one end and progressing through sequentially by brute force.

Seriously, I’m totally not kidding. I’ve done this successfully quite a few times, including on my home security system (prior owners didn’t know arm/disarm sequences) and the locked cabinets that hold all the other keys at my church and several places I’ve worked (always with permission). I’m about halfway through all the possible combinations on a six-digit padlock at this point, that I found in the street and haven’t been able to shim. I just sit down with a beer and run through combinations until I get bored, then set it down until the next day.

You’ll want to look up the lock/safe information, first, because you need to know the directions for both unlocking it and clearing the previous attempt. And you may find that you can do less than the total number of combinations, for example, master locks you only have to do one third… or even less!


Hey, Rob, if you look at the kick molding there’s an extra piece laid on there. If you carefully pull that off you might find that the safe will roll right out on little steel wheels.


How do you think they wind up as a locksmith in the first place?