Locksmiths Can Open Cars Without Verification
Using a locksmith is like using the honor system. When you get locked out of your car within minutes someone shows up and unlocks your car. No questions asked.
But what if someone used a locksmith to get into your car to steal items from it? We decided to find out.
Within five minutes we were into the car we wanted open. Our hidden cameras show that none of the locksmiths we tested asked for any verification of ownership. That's because they don't have to. Which means anyone can get in your car for around $35.
"We have been in the business for about 4 years and I have never been addressed with an issue of unlocking a car and it being stolen," Daves Debates of Tiger Towing said.
David Debates' business unlocks about 30 cars a month. He says it wasn't until our investigation that he realized he may be opening them up for the wrong people.
"(I've) Never given that much thought to be honest, we always thought we would be helping someone out," Debates said.
"I won't say that it has never happened in this area because I may not be aware. I know that it certainly hasn't happened to a great extent or I would be aware of that," Columbia Police Officer Randy Boehm said.
There's no law requiring locksmiths to see ID before opening a car. But Boehm says asking for verification is reasonable and locksmiths should always do it.
"They could call us, they can explain their suspicions to us and we can follow up by asking a few questions, we can run the license plate on the vehicle to see if it matches the ID," Boehm said.
City Council member Laura Nauser said that if there's a need for an ordinance, she'd more than likely support it.
"I don't think it is ever a bad thing to ask for verification, Nauser said, "You go to the grocery store you write a check and they ask for ID. You go to the bank and they ask for an ID. Unfortunately our society has come to a point now where we have to continually verify who we are. I don't think that is a problem because it has safety as a main concern."
The other locksmiths we tested declined on camera interviews. The companies that wouldn't talk to us were Heartland Lock and Key and Columbia Lock and Safe.
The Target 8 team also talked to other cities. None of the major cities in Missouri have ordinances for locksmiths either.
A locksmith also does not need verification or ID in order to get into a house.