Ken Doyle, a professional safecracker who's been practicing his trade since 1978, explains the ins and outs of safecracking to McSweeney's Suzanne Yeagley:
Q: How often do people get locked in vaults?
A: More often than you'd think and bank PR departments would like.
Q: Do you ever look inside?
A: I NEVER look. It's none of my business. Involving yourself in people's private affairs can lead to being subpoenaed in a lawsuit or criminal trial. Besides, I'd prefer not knowing about a client's drug stash, personal porn, or belly button lint collection.
When I'm done I gather my tools and walk to the truck to write my invoice. Sometimes I'm out of the room before they open it. I don't want to be nearby if there is a booby trap.
Q: Why would there be a booby trap?
A: The safe owner intentionally uses trip mechanisms, explosives or tear gas devices to "deter" unauthorized entry into his safe. It's pretty stupid because I have yet to see any signs warning a would-be culprit about the danger.
Over the years I've found several tear gas devices in safes and vaults I've opened. These devices were marketed with names like "BEAVER" and "BADGER." There are safecrackers that collect them.
(Image: It Is Not Often That I Find A Sealed Safe On The Footpath, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from infomatique's photostream)