A gun, multiple high-capacity magazines, a backpack full of fireworks and smoke canisters, a credit card with Frank James’ name on it–and a key–were all recovered from the scene of the recent New York City subway shooting. The key belonged to a U-Haul van found blocking a driveway a few blocks away.

UHAUL Silver Keys

Key blanks usually have some identifying numbers or letters, like these U-HAUL key blanks

According to police, the man who rented the van has ties to, and criminal records in, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Officials said authorities zeroed in on Frank R. James after the credit card used to rent the van, as well as a key to the van, were found at the shooting scene.

James, 62, was arrested and faces a federal terror charge of attacking a mass transit system. He evaded officers for nearly 30 hours before his arrest and is being held without bail.

Authorities said the attack unfolded around 8:30 a.m., on a Tuesday morning, on a Manhattan-bound subway train. The suspect put on a gas mask and threw two smoke grenades before firing 33 times at passengers as the train pulled into the station. No one was killed, but ten people were injured, five of them critically.

The U-Haul key is a key piece of evidence connecting the suspect to the crime. For this crime there is not only an abundance of evidence, but James seemingly wanted to be apprehended. Nevertheless, the key will be important when he goes on trial for his evil act of terrorism.

Broken Door

Burglars broke into a company’s receiving door by removing the deadbolt and manipulating the door frame with a crowbar.

Anderson Lock regularly receives photos, like the one shown here, of break-ins, with a request for emergency service, to replace doors, frames, locks and keys with higher security products. ‘Scene of the crime’ details, combined with security camera footage, provide crucial clues that detectives use to solve burglaries.

Arthur R. Paholke (1927-2002), a Navy-trained locksmith who became a Sergeant in the Chicago Police Department, raised the standards of crime scene evidence examination. His scientific methodology and depth of crime lab knowledge led to invitations from London and Paris to lecture police at Scotland Yard and the Surete.

In the 1970’s, Paholke researched methods of attack against locks, safes, and keys. He could easily pick locks, and could tell if a lock had been picked by anyone else. He worked on all the big cases of his day, including the Richard Speck murders and the killing of Valerie Percy, teenage daughter of Sen. Charles Percy. He is remembered as the Father of Forensic Locksmithing.

Forensic Locksmiths provide information that can be used by investigators to assist in solving crimes, and can testify in court as an expert on scientifically verifiable information regarding all types of locks and keys. They are typically hired by insurance companies, attorneys, government agents, and private investigators.

Paholke contributed “crime stopper” tips to the late Chester Gould to include in the Dick Tracy comic strip. His passion for stopping crime was legendary, with regularly dispensed advice on the “best locks to install.”

Anderson Lock locksmiths also have a passion for crime prevention

Damaged Key

High security keys like this Medeco key feature patented, restricted keyways to prevent unauthorized duplication

They recommend high-security locks designed to resist attacks from drilling, and also feature patented, restricted keyways to prevent unauthorized duplication of keys. They further recommend door, frame assembly, and surrounding access points that offer a high level of resistance. It is important to remember that the lock is only as secure as the door on which it is installed.

In 1988, one of the first modern mass school shootings happened at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka. Laurie Dann, a deranged, armed woman went into the school and shot six students. One of them, Nick Corwin, died. She then took a family hostage and shot another man, non-fatally, before killing herself. Soon after, elementary school officials from several suburbs surrounding Anderson Lock called upon our security experts to discuss ways to prevent anything like that from happening again. Jim Walsh, our Hardware Sales Manager, remembers advising officials to put locks on all exterior doors except the main entrance, and putting an electric strike, with a “buzzer” or remote release, on that door, to keep unauthorized persons out of the buildings.

Classroom Security Lock

Anderson Lock has installed thousands of classroom security locks like the Schlage AD400 shown here

Since then, Anderson Lock has installed thousands of classroom security locks, doors, and frames, in dozens of school districts. [Classroom security locks do not impede egress – the door may be opened from the inside by simply turning the lever – even when the door is locked. The key cylinder on the inside is used to lock the outside lever only.]

There are two types of school lockdown strategies:

1) Local Lockdown: to lock individual doors from inside the classroom; and

2) Global Lockdown: which locks all doors from a central location, typically through an access control system.

Another nearby lock and key crime involved a residential healthcare facility. Their maintenance worker walked away from the door he was repairing but left a master key inserted in the lock. A thief took the key and used it to ransack another resident’s apartment.

The facility manager quickly called Anderson Lock to schedule an emergency rekeying of 100-plus doors to prevent additional break-ins. We immediately sent a team of techs to change the lock cylinder combinations and issue new keys. We also told the manager about access control locks that can be electronically programmed to change the codes for all the locks from their main office, without incurring a $6,000.00 rekey charge.

Electronic access control locks and high definition cameras reduce demand for Forensic Locksmiths, but locks and keys are connected to crimes every day. There’s overwhelming research and evidence that security-compromised doors and windows are the most common ways intruders gain access to a property or vehicle.

Our skilled technicians install commercial heavy-duty doors, reinforced frames and security door hardware. They rekey cylinders, open locks, replace locks, and serve as a resource for technical information regarding all types of mechanical and electronic security hardware. Our key code cutting machines use the latest computer technology and are calibrated to ensure accurate cuts.

Thefts, burglaries, and vandalism can’t always be prevented, but losses and damage can be mitigated by installing high-security locks, only available through licensed security locksmiths, like Anderson Lock.

One Key to Stopping Crime is this:

If you have locks, use them!

Another is: Don’t leave keys unattended in locks.

[Cars with keys in the ignition are easily targeted by car thieves. This commonly occurs around coffee shops!]

Don’t create an opportunity for a key crime to occur.


View Locksmith Services