So this guy broke into our home, whilst we were there…

My girlfriend and I were making toasted sandwiches for lunch, in the kitchen of our apartment. And there was this strange clicking sound: “click, click, click, click”. I thought it was nearby, but thought it was coming from the outside, as the block we’re in gets a gardener to come in once a month to mow the communal lawn, trims plants, and so forth, and I just assumed it was something to do with that. Then we heard it again, and it sounded much closer: “click, click, click, click, click, click, click” … and as we looked at each other, I said: “What the hell IS that?” It seemed to be coming from towards the front door, so we both walked towards it … and we found this 40-year-old 6-foot-tall complete stranger standing inside our apartment, having just picked open the deadlock on our front door.

  • Us: “Are you right?” (If that’s an Australianism, it’s roughly the equivalent of saying “Can I help you?”, in a sharp and sarcastic tone).
  • Him: “Oh, you weren’t supposed to be here. I’m here to change the locks.” (At this point we notice he’s wearing a shirt with the name of some locksmith company on it)
  • Us: “Umm …. why? We haven’t contacted any locksmiths.”
  • Him: “Err… Is this <such-and-such-address>?”
  • Us: “No. It’s <such-and-such-address>” (which is similar to the address he gave, but definitely different)
  • Him: “Oh! That explains why the key they gave me didn’t work. Right.” This was promptly followed by a very long and profuse apology.

After this, as he left, I watched where he went (ready to call the police in case he was a well-prepared thief, with a plausible-sounding back-story ready to go), and he did go to the correct address, and I saw him changing the locks there later in the day.

Of course, the real worry would have been if we weren’t there, and he had changed all the locks, and left. Can you imagine, standing at your front door, trying to get in: “I’m sure this is my home. And I’m sure this is my key. Why doesn’t it work? What’s going on? Help!”

So, points to remember:

  • A clicking sound coming from your front door is a bad sign.
  • No matter how expensive your locks are (and this lock was from a reputable brand, and was not cheap), someone who knows what they’re doing can pick it in about 30 seconds.
  • If you’re a locksmith, you really need to check that you’ve got the right address before breaking in.