WTOL 11 Special Report: Key to Danger - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

WTOL 11 Special Report: Key to Danger

(Toledo News Now) -

When you buy a mass produced lock, chances are very good someone else has the key to your home. It's a danger most consumers don't consider.

Lock expert Glen Peifer says most big box retailers only carry a limited number of different keys...for each brand of locks they sell.

"I would say it would be very low," said Peifer."It would probably be under 10 or 20."

Take Schlage for example, the company manufactures 30 thousand different keys. A spokesperson for Schlage said they constantly rotate the thousands of key codes they ship to retailers.

But how often are retailers rotating their inventory?

At one Home Depot, our investigation shows that of the seven Schlage deadbolts on the shelf, all seven had the same key.

Out of nine handle and deadbolt sets, there were only two different keys available, meaning every other customer would have matching locks on their doors.

This investigation quickly found matching keys for several brands...including Defiant, Gate House, and Kwikset.

"It just doesn't make sense when you buy a lock and someone else has a key to it, period," said Peifer. "I would like to know that my key is the only one that fits the lock."

Ginger Watson was pleased with the price of a dead bolt she purchased at a big box retailer.
"My mom always said you get what you pay for," said Ginger Watson,"$9.97 wasn't bad."
She was not so pleased when we told her this little known secret.

Finding a match to Ginger Watson's Gate House brand lock was as simple as matching a serial number on her key.

"Scary. Because someone could be helping me in the store, look at the number, 'here you go ma'am, memorize it, grab the same thing right quick or wait and just trail me home," said Watson. 

We asked Home Depot and Lowe's how many different keys are available in their inventory of locks.

Home Depot said, "We don't break out the information you are requesting." Lowe's said, "We aren't able to provide information on inventory." 

Schlage offered to re-key locks in some cases.

The safest solution, albeit the more expensive solution, is to invest in a lock that requires a custom key that cannot be duplicated.

"Do they not understand that the next customer that comes by and grabs this lock off of the shelf, that they have a key to their house?" said Peifer. 

Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Amber Alert canceled for Pickens County boy

    Amber Alert canceled for Pickens County boy

    Saturday, March 25 2017 6:31 PM EDT2017-03-25 22:31:56 GMT

    Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has CANCELLED the Amber Alert for 11-month-old Christian Clay Perkins. 

    More >>

    Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has CANCELLED the Amber Alert for 11-month-old Christian Clay Perkins. 

    More >>
  • David: Showers and storms ongoing across the Valley

    David: Showers and storms ongoing across the Valley

    Saturday, March 25 2017 5:50 PM EDT2017-03-25 21:50:37 GMT

    Showers and storms will be ongoing across the Valley this evening. The most widespread rain will be over northeastern AL, but additional scattered storms will track into the Shoals from the west. That round of stormy weather will head east with time and should be out of the Valley after midnight. The threat for severe storms is low, but a few strong storms are possible. 

    More >>

    Showers and storms will be ongoing across the Valley this evening. The most widespread rain will be over northeastern AL, but additional scattered storms will track into the Shoals from the west. That round of stormy weather will head east with time and should be out of the Valley after midnight. The threat for severe storms is low, but a few strong storms are possible. 

    More >>
  • New details released in Guntersville double shooting

    New details released in Guntersville double shooting

    Saturday, March 25 2017 2:07 PM EDT2017-03-25 18:07:30 GMT
    Guntersville police say two people were shot at this mobile home area on Edmonds Road. (Source: WAFF)Guntersville police say two people were shot at this mobile home area on Edmonds Road. (Source: WAFF)

    The Guntersville Police Department have released news details on a double shooting late Friday afternoon that left one man dead.

    The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m., when police from multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a 911 call reporting two people had been shot on Edmonds Road.

    More >>

    The Guntersville Police Department have released news details on a double shooting late Friday afternoon that left one man dead.

    The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m., when police from multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a 911 call reporting two people had been shot on Edmonds Road.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly