Police blowing gunsafes


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LoneStranger
October 9, 2006, 03:33 AM
I was out of town and touch recently here in the Kansas City area and I have been told of a news story that was on the local TV. I am trying to run down any information on this and would greatly appreciate any info.

Story goes that a house caught fire and the fire department came and put the fire out without much damage to the house. They reported that there were at least two gunsafes in the house and called the police. The police demanded that the owner of the safes open them up for the police to inspect the contents. The owner claimed that the safes were not involved in the fire and refused to open them. The police then called out the Bomb Squad and had them blow the locks off of the safes and proceeded to drag everything out and place it on the lawn for public inspection.

I don't know the truth of any of this and I am looking for information. Believe happened in the last week of September.

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Taurus 66
October 9, 2006, 03:44 AM
What was their reason for having to breach the safes? The fire is NOT a valid reason, and where was the home owner's attorney through all of this? This is looking like "Snopes" to me, but if it really happened, oh boy. :uhoh:

RON in PA
October 9, 2006, 04:02 AM
Did they have warrants?

rustymaggot
October 9, 2006, 04:10 AM
if this is true then theres a world more info that needs to come to light. where did this story come from anyway?

Steve in PA
October 9, 2006, 04:12 AM
"If" the story as told is true, they would have needed a search warrant to open the safes.

Sounds like a load of crap to me.

LoneStranger
October 9, 2006, 04:19 AM
Like I said, I do not know anything beyond what I have put in my query!

Was supposedly on one of the local TV stations but I can't even get a good answer on which one. That's why I am asking.

GregGry
October 9, 2006, 06:26 AM
Like it has been said before, no warrant, no entry. A lot of people think there is a fire scene exception to the warrant requirement. There is not such a thing. If the fire fighters brought out the safe legitimately during their work, thats fine. Even so the police would still have to get a warrant to search the safes. The police can't search the house without a warrant either. So no digging through rubble without a warrant, unless they want all the evidence thrown out.

>SHOCK<^>WAVE<
October 9, 2006, 08:20 AM
I really doubt the safes could be blown open with out destroying everything in it and also doubt the bomb squad would even do it. I think they would be shipped off to the FBI lab to be opened.

dfaugh
October 9, 2006, 08:29 AM
I really doubt the safes could be blown open with out destroying everything in it and also doubt the bomb squad would even do it.

No, you don't "blow" safes. If the cops (armed with a warrant) want a safe opened the call a locksmith/legal safecracker to drill it. I used to do it for a living, and opened many safes for various locall police agencies.

quiettype
October 9, 2006, 08:35 AM
When my house burned I was urged to sign a permission to search with the understanding that if I did'nt sign a warrant would be obtained.I then modified the document to limit any search to ONLY the immediate area of the fire.

Erebus
October 9, 2006, 08:41 AM
The police then called out the Bomb Squad and had them blow the locks off of the safes
1. It's illegal without a warrent
2. They are not going to set off explosives in a neighborhood. They would take the safes somewhere else and have them opened in a less destructive manner.
3. What reason would they have to demand they be opened after a fire not involving them?

Only reason I could see them wanting those safes opened is if the guy is a felon(or some other reason he is forbidden to have firearms) and they want to confirm there aren't firearms in the safes. If this is the case I would think that posting an officer or 2 on the safes until a judge signs a warrent wouldn't be too much trouble at a fire scene.

ilbob
October 9, 2006, 09:52 AM
I suspect urban legend, or that there is a lot more to the story then is being told.

The main reason I do not buy it is that it is much easier and safer to open a safe in other ways.

Euclidean
October 9, 2006, 09:55 AM
I was always under the impression a real locksmith/safe expert could get most household "safes" open in less than 60 seconds anyway, so I don't buy the explosives bit either.

Beren
October 9, 2006, 10:07 AM
60 seconds?

Try 6 seconds.

A few years ago, I managed to lose the combination to my safe. I contacted a locksmith who said he couldn't open it, but he could refer me to someone who could. Turns out the guy I was referred to does training for the FBI and other groups. I think he was rated the #6 in the U.S. at his trade at the time.

He literally had my safe open in six seconds (or less) using nothing but five fingers. It was worth the $$ just to see his shop and watch him manipulate the safe open.

Granted, my combination safe was not burglar rated, only fire rated.

Euclidean
October 9, 2006, 10:14 AM
Human beings are amazing creatures. And all a lock does is keep honest people honest, etc.

Ohen Cepel
October 9, 2006, 10:19 AM
Not much to go on.

Was the fire due to a meth lab? Was the guy a felon? Was there a crime commited in relation to the fire? If yes to any of these then it may make sense that they wanted to see inside the safes.

Otherwise, it makes no sense.

Delta608
October 9, 2006, 08:46 PM
Like it has been said before, no warrant, no entry. A lot of people think there is a fire scene exception to the warrant requirement. There is not such a thing. If the fire fighters brought out the safe legitimately during their work, thats fine. Even so the police would still have to get a warrant to search the safes. The police can't search the house without a warrant either. So no digging through rubble without a warrant, unless they want all the evidence thrown out.

Amazing, the dis-information there is out there....I suppose the arrest wouldnt stick either becuz.." You didnt read me my rights"...There dozens of exceptions to what the above poster had said.....The Po-Po have quite a few "safe crackers" and "lock pickers" on duty most of the time, would not use any explosives as they are not needed and might destroy contents..:eek:

Jim K
October 9, 2006, 08:47 PM
In some states, after a fire the property almost belongs to the fire marshal for as long as it takes to "investigate." No search warrant is needed to search every place in the building for the cause of the fire or any remaining "hot spots."

In some cases, the fire marshal or his deputies "investigated" TV sets, stereos, cash, jewelry and other "arson related" items right out of the house. The home owners complained and were told by the cops (who shared the loot) to shut up and report the loss on the insurance claim.

Of course, I don't know if the situation reported was true or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if some cops or fire investigators were selling those guns on the street a bit later.

Jim

taliv
October 9, 2006, 08:51 PM
quiettype, why were you urged to sign it? what did they say they were getting a warrant for? what was the cause?

SoCalShooter
October 9, 2006, 08:54 PM
There is just not enough info here honestly.

1. cops dont blow safes
2. on average they have a good reason

a1abdj
October 9, 2006, 10:14 PM
I really doubt the safes could be blown open with out destroying everything in it and also doubt the bomb squad would even do it. I think they would be shipped off to the FBI lab to be opened.

In almost all cases the safes are opened whereever they are. In some cases where a safe has been recovered elsewhere as part of a burglary, it will be taken back to the police department as evidence, and then opened.

No, you don't "blow" safes. If the cops (armed with a warrant) want a safe opened the call a locksmith/legal safecracker to drill it. I used to do it for a living, and opened many safes for various locall police agencies.


This is pretty much how it goes, but they do have an alternative in my part of the world.

Step 1: Get a warrant that mentions "safe". That magic word has to be on the warrant.

Step 2: Ask safe owner nicely for combination. If he refuses, continue to step 3.

Step 3: Call a locksmith out to drill open safe. Locksmith bills the Police.

Step 4: If locksmith doesn't arrive fast enough, let the fire department have a go at it. They have all sorts of neat tools that can shred a light weight safe in very short order. :D

I was always under the impression a real locksmith/safe expert could get most household "safes" open in less than 60 seconds anyway, so I don't buy the explosives bit either.


Most gun safe have mechanical locks, which are much better quality than those found on your typical big box document safe.

I have a video of a locksmith from NY that can manipulate a typical mechanical lock in less than 5 minutes.

It takes me about 15 minutes of actual working time to drill open a gun safe in a fairly clean fashion. Add in the time I'm carrying tools back and forth, and I'm usually in and out in less than an hour.

CSA 357
October 9, 2006, 10:53 PM
maybe they were drug dealers, maybe thats how the fire started , maybe just BS ? :rolleyes:

Lucky
October 9, 2006, 11:01 PM
a1abdj, so are you confirming that police search houses where there have been fires?

quiettype and Keenan, could you guys elaborate? This might be important to know, to avoid being victimized if you have a fire.

blarney
October 9, 2006, 11:14 PM
I live in KC and have heard nothing aout this. I talked to some folks who are involved with the local news stations and they also know nothing about this. I think it is more or less just some other story exaggerated into this. I keep a pretty close eye on gun topics here.

a1abdj
October 10, 2006, 12:22 AM
a1abdj, so are you confirming that police search houses where there have been fires?


Not around here. The fire marshall investigates fires where I'm at. I'm sure they work closely with the police.

I was talking about the procedures followed when they are doing a search with a warrant. I've opened safes belonging to suspected drug dealers, theives, tax evaders, and a few assorted white collar crimes.

I've never seen a safe opened after a fire that wasn't at the request of the safe's owner.

I did have a guy call me out to change his combination about a month ago. He and his wife are getting divorced, and they were having an argument. Neighbors called the police, police arrived, and asked him to spend the night elsewhere. After he left, police asked the soon to be ex to open up the safe and let them have a look.

Keep that above story in mind if others have the combination to your safe. A warrant isn't needed if access is granted by somebody in possession.

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