What a cracker!

Gatton Star - - Front Page - By GARY WOR­RALL

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.

PHOTO: GARY WOR­RALL

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

PHOTO: GARY WOR­RALL

JUST RE­WARD: Michael Maloney with Cliff For­rester, Queens­land di­rec­tor of the Master Lock­smiths As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­trala­sia, re­ceiv­ing his Master Lock­smith award.

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