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

Video. Confronted with a floor safe, I built an auto dailer with an Arduino, a stepper-motor shield, a stepper motor, and T-slot style tubing. I used a PVC end cap and some foam tape to connect to the dial. The microswitch that you see in the video detects when the stepper motor stalls (which means that the combination has been found). Old hard-drive magnets hold the contraption in place on the safe’s steel door.

The video shows the original version of the software, which attempted to dial every combination. After filming this, I updated the software to consider a model of the lock (having purchased and opened an identical lock mechanism from eBay). The new software aimed to move the internal wheels and would turn the dial only as much as necessary to get the wheels where they needed to be, one combination at a time. (So usually the third wheel was advanced one position without needing to redial the first two wheels.)

After about three days I returned home to discover no sound from the garage. The autodialer has succeeded! The actual three-digit combination was off by 1 in one or two places, and when I opened the lock’s mechanism, brass dust emerged, probably because the dial normally doesn’t get turned that much in ordinary use.


Looking through the source code’s comments:

  • I had correctly guessed from the dial that the lock mechanism is a Sargent and Greenleaf 6600/6700-series three-number mechanical lock.
  • When computing the next trial combination, the second number changes in descending order, which is best for the lock class.
  • S&G documentation says to avoid all-ascending combinations and all-descending combinations. Avoid combinations with consecutive numbers closer than 5. Also avoid setting the third digit to 0–20 or 90–99. The code assumes that the locksmith followed these instructions.
  • The dialer's progress is stored in EEPROM in case power is lost. When power is reapplied, the dialer starts where it left off.
  • The lock's "wheel pack" actually has seven moving parts: the dial, the three wheels, and three "flies" that connect the other four parts.
  • The step_left() and step_right() methods simulate the effect of twisting the dial by one position. These are used by methods like wheel_2_left_to(x) which repeatedly calls step_left() until the second wheel is set to position x.

I fix houses for a living, I’m not an expert in safes, but I’ve opened a couple dozen and all in the same way.
You should borrow an angle grinder, a decent one, none of the harbor freight type trash. If your friends don’t have one, you have lousy friends and you’ll need to buy a good one yourself for $75-$100. Less used.
Then you will be the good friend.
Don’t cheap out on the discs, get Dewalt or Diablo or whatever. The ones that are about 1/8" thick are good for this.
Cheap discs don’t cut well and just make a lot of dust for you to breathe and are generally hateful things.
Angle grinders are good.
Cordless angle grinders are just a license to steal, but get a corded one, they’re way better if larceny is only a passing hobby.

Don’t cut the hinge. The hinge just holds the door up when it’s open, the locking rods will keep it from opening even with no hinges.

Now the trick is, you want to get at some side other than the front. The front is the security theater of the whole thing. Like a security door on a pressboard house. Plaster and lathe shouldn’t frighten you, especially in a closet, so knock a hole somewhere.
Big one.

Every safe I’ve cut through so far has been an outside metal shell and an inside metal shell with concrete in between. Cut with the grinder just deep enough to get through the outer shell. They’ve all been real thin, 1/8" or less.
Cut as big a square as you can manage, then knock out the concrete with a screwdriver and cut the inner layer.
You can usually figure out the door lock from the inside, so once you do, put some sheetmetal or the pieces you cut back, pour concrete on 'em and patch up the wall.
No one’s going to know it’s compromised.

So far I’ve found commemorative coins, a corncob pipe, a Coke bottle opener, a pill bottle full of weed, and some gold bullion.
Gold bullion turned out to be fake.
Like pretty good fakes of those gold bars they sell to all the prepper type people, y’know?
Who would sell such a thing?
What kind of rat bastard would put it in a safe?
I was going to retire.
People are strange.


Best possible outcome to hope for:


I’ve seen it argued that having an unopenable safe in your house can be dangerous - if you ever suffer a home invasion, the bad guys may not believe your claim to be unable to do so.


I’m gonna whittle you into kindlin’
black crow 16 shells from a thirty-ought six


Some old safes are fire safes and are insulated with asbestos. Something to consider before attacking a random safe with an angle grinder.


I bet it contains wonderful things.


That explains why you can’t find a real locksmith on Google any more then.





What’s on the over side ? Maybe it’s just a a safe door and a dry wall on the over side :smiley:

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Did Al Capone once live there? Cos if so it may have an anti chump device in place.




OK, according to the Safeman’s Guide #2, p 37, this looks like a Victor safe with a Yale lock. Although your dial and handle are more towards the center than the ones in the drawing, it’s pretty clearly a match.

Locksmithing expert Terry V. Andreasen suggests three sequences, to get you down to 300 combos to try first. Of course, he may be talking about a different model, and with the caveat that it “won’t surprise me that they don’t work, but good luck anyway”. I believe these are supposed to be for your 100# dial.

First number plus 35 will be second number
First number plus 5 will be third number,
First number plus 26 will be driver gateway.

First number plus 35 will be second number,
First number plus 4 will be third number,
First number plus 47 will be driver gateway

First number plus 12 will be second number,
First number less 18 will be third number,
First number less 8 will be driver gateway.

Dialing sequence is:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 times right to the driver gateway - you should feel the lever engage the driver, continue right until the dial stops.

In another thread Andreasen says “Opening the safe by drilling, when done by a professional safe technician will result in a very small hole, less than 1/4”, which is easily repairable and does NO damage to the safe or the lock." So maybe that makes it an option for you without destroying the safe, as others above have said it would. If you’re obsessing about this anywhere near as much as some of us are, it would be worth browsing through more of Mr. Andreasen’s responses on the above mentioned site, as he seems incredibly knowledgeable.


Well if you want a movie with a lock manipulation scene that resembles the real thing, I recommend The Escape Artist. Because it’s about the FEEL, listening really isn’t something that you do. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083900/

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Ask the people at: http://www.reddit.com/r/WhatsInThisThing/


I already forwarded this.
He and his camera crew are on the way.

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sounds like the previous occupants suffered from a profound lack of curiosity. just to yank their chain, you should inform them that you discovered 5-million dollars.


Well made fake gold bullion takes in even gold dealers occasionally. I would imagine that there are a good fraction of “preppers” with artfully enamelled hunks of lead in their safes/holes in the ground/hunting cabins/arses.

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We had a locked safe on the 3rd floor on Bedford Square. That sat in the fireplace. None of us could move it. We could probably have shifted it with levers and crowbars. This looks bigger than that. If you remove the skirting board, it may well be on wheels. However, even with wheels, that sucker is probably going to score up your floorboards unless you put down something like plywood. If it is up stairs, then you must be able to get it down. Probably attaching it to a wooden sled and lowering it with pulleys, but don’t quote me because these things are incredibly dense, and will be itching to go gambolling down by itself. That’s why these things get left behind.

PS: I want one too…