You might’ve heard the common ways on how thieves break in and steal cars which usually are high-tech methods. However, a man in Oakland, California says that his car was stolen using an unexpectedly low-tech method.
Dan, the car owner, parked his black Mercedes Benz C-55 outside his home Tuesday morning. His neighbour’s surveillance camera caught a locksmith truck driving down the road. The car had been left there for up to three hours, according to his neighbours. The locksmith, he claims, was paid in cash to produce a duplicate key on the spot by a thief.
“I’m pissed at everyone,” he said. “It’s not supposed to happen and it’s not supposed to happen in the middle of the day. You can see the dude talking to the locksmith person, going over and paying him, the dude gives him the key, he gets in it and drives off.”
When Dan saw the video, he called the locksmith’s phone number that was printed on his van.
Dan said, “Well you didn’t get any ID?” And the locksmith replied with “No.” He stated, “I don’t understand how that is even legally possible.” Local news picked up on the story and reached out to the locksmith named Wilson Zhang.
Wilson Zhang said, “How I’m supposed to know that? He gave me his license. His registration. I didn’t know that, you know, this guy was, you know, a thief.’”
However, Dan doesn’t believe the story. His registration was locked in the car. It wasn’t suspicious, according to Zhang, because Mercedes keys take hours to make, and the man patiently waited outside.
The difference between locksmiths and thieves
Omer Hosh of 24/7 Locksmith Solutions said “A lot of people say, when they meet me on the job, the only difference between you guys and a thief is a license.”
He added that criminals can easily pose as an owner of a car, so verifying the locksmith’s license and registration is important before creating a duplicate key. Locksmiths in Belfast would always be the first to show their credentials to clients, so when a locksmith doesn’t do this it will look very suspicious.
Hosh also stated that obtaining a locksmith business license in California is much too easy. The local news reviewed the state website and discovered that no training is required. All you have to do is pass a background check, which Hosh claims isn’t very thorough.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of Dan’s woes. Zhang gave Dan the number of the man who hired him to create a duplicate. When Dan called, the thief demanded a ransom for the car. This has now erupted into a car kidnapping case. Apparently, the thief wanted one thousand dollars in cash or he would burn the car. It was reported that Dan will leave this to the authorities. He said, “I am so frustrated at what happened, yet there’s no way I’m going to pay into them trying to extort me for money.”
The fact that anyone can pose as a locksmith in California is also a problem in the UK, where locksmith companies are not regulated. This means that anyone with access to YouTube videos of locksmithing can call themselves locksmiths.
You might be unnerved by the situation of Dan, what you can do so that this won’t happen to you is to have a professional locksmith to rely on. Don’t hesitate to contact Lock Doc NI. Here at Lock Doc NI, we employ only professional and certified locksmiths. We provide a variety of services like commercial, business, and auto locksmithing. Our auto locksmiths in Belfast are experienced and prepared with needed tools to finish the job and our emergency locksmiths in Belfast are always ready for any situation.