Safecracking is one of the oldest “professionals” in fact, 100 years ago Safecrackers were known as Yeggmen who made their living by traveling by railroad breaking into small-town businesses and post offices where they cracked open safes to steal cash, stamps and other valuables. In the movies, robbers can quickly and stealthily crack a safe in a matter of seconds using just steady hands, a good ear, and impeccable timing.
Safecracking isn't really that easy of course, but believe it or not, there are still real-life expert safecrackers (yeggmen) that really can get through just about any lock mechanism. It's a matter of having the right tools, the right skills and plenty of patience.
Yeggmen Stories From Decades Ago
The Considerate Yeggman
An especially considerate burglar mailed several deposit slips to the Interstate Motor Co. — the same company he had just burglarized. A “yeggman” (safecracker) had stolen the slips, along with $130 in cash, from a safe that was drilled open in the early hours of the morning. The deposit slips were of no value to the burglar, but probably of value to employees or auto purchasers. “The burglar was very considerate to return these papers, but I wish he would mail the insurance policies amounting to some $40,000,” said the company manager. “These are really valuable to us, and can be of no use to him.” Spokane police said they were already working on some important clues in the case.
To read more about the considerate Yeggman go to this article on The Spokesman-Review
Tucson Waiter: Stealing is all he knows
Twenty-four Year Old Allen Roberts, Criminal By Preference and Training, Did Three Congress St. "Jobs"—Precocious But Lacks Finesse. Within three days after a yeggman had made a clean-up of three Congress street stores, he was captured, yesterday, and forced to confess. The goods were recovered and the man is now awaiting arraignment. He confessed to being a professional yeggman with a career of crime extending from his boyhood.
He confessed that he first entered the tailor shops of G. K. Smith on Congress street. There he selected two suits of cloths and put them on. He picked up a few trifling trinkets, some stamps, and an Elk’s tooth and left. The Criterion Shoe store was the next place on his list. He worked the combination of the safe with expert fingers, having been a safe burglar at various times in his career. He took the safe deposit box out and chiseled it open with tools he found there and removed $165.
Then he took one pair of shoes and went to a room he had rented at the San Augustine hotel. In the room, he hid the money for future use. "And when I do my bit in the stir for this," said Allen H. Roberts, 26 years old, the confessed yegg, yesterday afternoon, "I am going at it again, for that is all I have ever known. I have never worked a day in my life and I don't know how it is done."
To read the full story go to Tales from the Morgue on Tucson.com
Modern Day Safe Crackers AKA Yeggmans
Charlie Santore is a licensed, bonded and insured safe technician
If you become locked out of your safe, inherit a safe that you are unable to open or just found your self in the situation of a technical malfunction there are modern-day safecrackers like Santore & Son's in Los Angeles California, their Instagram page is regularly updated with pictures from the world of Los Angeles safecracking.
Jeff Sitar eight-time champ of the Lockmaster's International Safecracking Competition
In this video, Safecracker Jeff Sitar shows us how to crack a safe lock. The New Jersey locksmith has won the Lockmaster's International Safecracking competition eight times.
"We have certain tricks of the trade that I can't divulge. ... The only tip I have is good luck."
"There really isn't a technique," he said. "It's just luck. ... The odds are totally out there."
~ Safecracker Jeff Sitar
Modern Safe Cracking Tools
When it’s not important to keep the safe intact there are a lot more options for getting into a safe. One of the more popular and effective modern methods of forcing your way into a safe is with the use of high-temperature torches used to cut a way in.
There are a number of interesting ways to blast your way into a safe though this doesn't always guarantee that the contents will also remain intact when all is said and done. One interesting method is the use of ‘jam shots’ which is essentially a directed charge of nitroglycerin which is used to blow the door off of a safe.
Learn more about modern-day safe cracking tools in our article: Modern Safe Cracking Tools