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

A $14.99 grinder with a stack of metal cut off wheels will get you into that in 30 mins. Remember to tape off the area and wear protection for face and ears.


I’d recommend a locksmith because there is undoubtedly an ancient curse in there and you don’t want to get hit with it. Most professional locksmiths will have the appropriate dissipation spells at the ready.


A friend ordered a bunch of vintage ones from Ebay when we were in junior high. His dad’s office had a bunch of old safes, he was told if he could get into them he could take one home. Never got into one but he ended up with a stake of safe cracking manuals and old manufacturer code lists in his bedroom.


I’d build a DIY safe cracker like this one. http://hackaday.com/2009/07/21/gentle-safe-cracker/


Would probably get better results if he called MIT…



Reading up on it, bring elbow grease and patience. If the previous owner didn’t open it it’s bound to be pretty well stuck even if you have the combo.


Don’t bother attacking the hinges or buying listening equipment. There are no “tumblers”, but wheels.

Read Matt Blaze’s paper on safecracking. Buy a similar lock on eBay, or from a locksmith, possibly with (open) safe attached. Learn how to manipulate safe locks. Open your safe.

My first time through was with an S&G group 2R lock. I got it open in ~2 hours. It’s a fun skill to have.


I’d check with a locksmith. Personally, having access to something like that is pretty cool, so preserving it would be key.


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