SACRAMENTO (CSB13) — Surveillance video shows the burglar in a white shirt running from Claire Tan and Kevin Kamai’s house in August. You can then see the getaway car speeding down the street.
“I’m still trying to get over it,” Kamai said.
The burglars went straight for the jewelry box in the bedroom, getting away with Claire’s engagement ring, her late grandma’s jewelry and even their daughters’ baby teeth.
“I’m not going to see that stuff again,” Tan said. “Why would someone want to do this to us, to our family?”
Now word it may be easier than ever for burglars to get into your house, right through your front door by snapping a picture of keys and uploading it to a cyber-locksmith.
I decide to test it out with my own house key. San Francisco based KeysDuplicated.com requires you to upload images from the front and back of the key. The cost is $6 for the first key which you can pay by credit card. Within three days, my key arrives. I test it out with my home, and it let me in with no problem.
The co-founder of KeysDuplicated.com Jordan Meyer says his company is the safest option around because his company requires a credit card with a name on it, which is traceable. He points out most locksmiths accept cash and says his company will cooperate with law enforcement.
Kurtis: How are you making sure the bad guys aren’t copying keys?
Meyer: We make sure that you take a picture of the front and back of the key so you can’t be using a telephoto lens and spotting a key on a table.
Meyer admits it won’t stop a bad guy, but will make it harder.
We tried copying a random key we found on the internet. We only had a picture of one side of it and had our CBS13 art department doctor up an image that could’ve been the back side. KeysDuplicated.com rejected the images saying both images appeared to be of the same side of the key.
I tested the company to see if they’d copy a key that is stamped, “Do Not Duplicate”. Three days later, KeysDuplicated.com sent us an envelope with the key which worked getting into an apartment. How does the company explain that?
“There’s no legal standing that says you shouldn’t,” Meyer said.
We checked state law and he’s right. It states, duplication is prohibited when a key is stamped “Dot Not Duplicate” and includes the originator’s company name and telephone number. Our key is stamped “Do Not Duplicate”, but does not have a company name or phone number on it.
“We don’t condone that,” said Barry Campbell of the Society of Professional Locksmiths.
Campbell also disagrees Cyber Locksmiths are safer saying these types of companies make it where seeing a key is just as much of a risk as handing it to someone.
“You need to protect your keys and not leave them out of site for any extended length of time,” he said.
You should be on alert when you get your oil changed, go to a full service car wash or hand your keys to a valet.
“It’s scary,” Kamai said. “My family’s now scared to be home”.
Tan and Kamai plan to keep their keys close. They’ve added surveillance cameras to their home, and are doing what they can to protect their family from the bad guys.
“This is a game to them,” Tan said. “Unfortunately, we’re part of that game and it sucks.”
KeysDuplicated.com is only doing house keys. The company claims it deletes address information from its system as soon as keys are made. It does hold onto images of keys in case you want to copy them again down the road, but says they will delete the pictures upon request. To protect yourself, you may consider getting a high security key or lock, or having a key made that says “Do Not Duplicate” and includes the originator’s name and phone number on it.