What a cracker!
FORGET what Hollywood says about nervous twitches and sweat pouring down their brow, when Lockyer’s crack locksmith goes to work, he is a picture of calm.
For Michael Maloney, breaking into other people’s locked rooms and safes is all in a day’s work, so when the chance came up to pit his safe manipulation skills against the best locksmiths in Australasia, he leaped at the chance.
And with the door opened in under 14 minutes, Michael’s place in locksmithing history was assured.
To take out the title, Michael had to open a ‘3 wheel combination lock’ by listening for the sounds of the wheels lining up as he turned the dial.
“By comparison, television personality Todd Sampson, who does a show about brain training, had a go at the same safe, and his best time was 55 minutes, but that was good for a first time effort,” Michael said.
With his title of 2014 Australasian Safe Manipulator firmly in his
clutches, Michael is now in training for the 2015World Challenge to be held in the USA.
“I have only found out about it since winning this title, but I will certainly begin training for the USA event, it is the biggest in the world for locksmithing.”
Michael said he trained for “hundreds” of hours to reach his current level.
“I started as an apprentice in Toowoomba, learning the trade there. It is a mixture of skills, you need to be part builder, part mechanic and these days there are a lot more electronics involved.”
To be ready to go out and open his first customer lock, Michael said he practiced for almost 500 hours, and continues to work on his skills.
“I do a lot of work for banks, and other security conscious businesses, there are times when they need to open a lock, but they do not want to damage the safe, so I am asked to go and open the door non-destructively.”
While there are many destructive techniques available, Michael said one of the pre-requisites of the trade was to leave no evidence he had even worked on a lock.
“We help out historical organisations, they might have a heritage listed safe or strong room, and the keys or combination are long lost, but they need to get it open, without doing any damage.”
Using a mix of traditional tools and latest generation electronics, Michael said keeping up with new technologies can be a challenge.
“We get very little support from the lock manufacturers, in fact they actively discourage us, there is a lot of competition between locksmiths and manufacturers.”
Michael Maloney, locksmith I do a lot of work for banks, and other security conscious businesses...
With manufacturers keen to protect their technologies, Michael said the Master Locksmiths Association actually has one member who is employed to buy examples of the latest lock technology, and then to work with members on how to open the locks.
“We have a similar challenge with automobile manufacturers, they like to tell people their security cannot be beaten, but there are many times when we are asked to open a vehicle so we have to be up to date with what systems are in use, and how they work.”
Michael is also in demand as a guest lecturer, visiting TAFEs to pass on his skills.
NO SECRETS: Michael Maloney cracks the code while Cliff Forrester, Queensland director of the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia times him, watched carefully by the Gatton, Lockyer and Brisbane Valley Star’s Adam Roberts
JUST REWARD: Michael Maloney with Cliff Forrester, Queensland director of the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia, receiving his Master Locksmith award.