CHS has been sent an East Precinct bulletin about a discovery made by SPD burglary detectives that reveals that weak elevator key boxes are making the work of area burglars all too easy. Details on the key boxes the East Precinct is now recommending be replaced with stronger types and one particularly prolific burglar who police say used the technique to commit 500 burglaries across the city, below.
In December, you might recall, CHS reported on the apprehension of a juvenile burglary suspect busted with a massive ring of keys. No word yet if that bust was related to this bulletin.
Detectives Steve Kaffer and Theresa Emerick learned that a suspect (one of a group of 12) was alone responsible for 500 burglaries city-wide (100 have since been cleared) using the below described technique for accessing master keys to apartment buildings.The suspects are finding it easy to get into the “emergency use only” red key boxes that are used by the city elevator inspectors. The boxes are easily breached using a screw driver or small pry bar. Below are two boxes broken into from Capitol Hill:
After speaking with the city elevator inspectors and supervisors they agreed the box currently being used does not properly secure the keys needed for elevator inspections. Additionally, property owner need to be educated to leave only the elevator and/or utility room access keys inside the box and not the master keys to the building.An elevator box currently being considered for securing the keys is the Knox-Box 1400 series Elevator Box in both standard and mini sizes. The box comes in three different colors with red limited to fire department use and the colors of bronze or aluminum to accommodate other uses such as the elevator inspections.
Suspects shared [details] of removing a Knox-Box from the wall, taking the box to a different location and after 45 minutes of trying were unable to get into the box and gave up trying.The modus operandi of this burglary style can be curtailed with city departments using a secured key box of the Knox-Box style along with both city inspectors and patrol officers educating apartment building owners/managers not to place “master keys” in the boxes and only specific elevator/utility room keys.