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A few minutes ago, an e-mail popped into my inbox.

San Diego Hit by Locksmith Scam

The subject line said.

That got my attention. I opened up the press release and took a look. The first thing that hit me was that the header of the press release was for Grah Safe and Lock. That struck me as a bit weird, seeing as I got the press release was sent over by a public relations firm. Still, I read on. Here’s what it said:

San Diego has become the latest city targeted by renegade locksmiths according to Glenn Younger of Grah Safe and Lock. The San Diego Police Department has investigated at least one case where a downtown resident had property stolen. In that case the locksmith changed the locks on a high-rise downtown condo then went back the next day and burglarized the same place.

Still sounded interesting. The press release seemed to be implying that a wave of rogue locksmiths was about to hit San Diego. I called Monica Munoz at the Police Department. Barely had the word “locksmith” left my mouth when Munoz told me, in no uncertain terms that San Diego is certainly not suffering from a wave of rogue locksmiths.

“That guy has called three times and each time I’ve told him the same thing,” Munoz told me.

Still interesting.

Did that mean a large locksmith company was hiring a PR firm to “manufacture” claims a false crime wave was about to hit? I gave the PR guy, Ben Constant at Hutchens PR, a call.

Constant assured me that San Diego was, indeed, the latest city to be hit by a nationwide problem: Small, unlicensed locksmiths get away with charging customers outrageous prices, he told me, and some of them might actually rip off customers after they make a copy of their keys.

When I asked Constant if he had any evidence for his claim, he told me the San Diego Police Department has investigated at least one case. Presumably that’s the same one he mentioned in his press release. He also told me his office had contacted Munoz and that she had told them the same thing she told me.

WILL CARLESS

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