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View Full Version : Help! Can you pick a lock from the INSIDE?



Loquacis
12-07-2010, 02:28 AM
I need a really fast answer on this guys...so please let me know if this is possible.

Protagonist is locked in a room, so obviously the keyhole is on the outside of the door, right? But he needs to be able to get out. Is there some way he can pick the lock from the INSIDE? I'm not picky about what kind of door this is, or what kind of locking mechanism they use. I just need a kind that can be locked from the outside, but picked from the inside.

Is this at all possible, or am I going to need to do some major revamping of the situation??

Thanks!

Drachen Jager
12-07-2010, 02:46 AM
If it's an old fashioned lock and the key was left in the lock it's easy, slip a sheet of newspaper under the door, poke the key out with something narrow, drag the sheet of paper back and ta da! you have a key.

Normally locks have a keyhole only on one side. As you either want to keep stuff IN or OUT but rarely both. I'd expect normally they'd just have a knob to turn on the other side so you'd pick it as normal from the inside. Old style locks usually had keyholes on both sides and you needed a key (or the right tools and some know-how) to lock or unlock from either side.

Plot Device
12-07-2010, 03:05 AM
Never mind the lock. Unscrew the hinge pins.

Presto. Door open.

Plot Device
12-07-2010, 03:09 AM
Also, consider the strikeplate.

If he's on the side of the door that the door swings toward, then that means the curved lip of the strike plate is on his side. Just shove a credit card in between the door and the strike plate.

And, on the same token .... if he's (again) on the side of the door that the door swings toward, the hinges are there and he can undo the hige pins.


If he's NOT on the same side of the door that the door swings towad, he'd have to be MacGyver.

scarletpeaches
12-07-2010, 03:11 AM
I once locked my dad in a wardrobe to see if he could get out.

Giant Baby
12-07-2010, 03:16 AM
I once locked my dad in a wardrobe to see if he could get out.

And???

Plot Device
12-07-2010, 03:16 AM
I once locked my dad in a wardrobe to see if he could get out.


He just needed to slip into one of the fur coats and push his way through to the back where the snow was falling.

scarletpeaches
12-07-2010, 03:17 AM
Dammit, you stole my punchline.

scarletpeaches
12-07-2010, 03:18 AM
And???What? You expected me to let him out again?

Shit.

*calls ambulance*

(No, seriously. It was a lock-picking experiment. He invited me to lock him in to see if he could get out. He did, within minutes. Yes, he is utterly insane).

Plot Device
12-07-2010, 03:22 AM
Dammit, you stole my punchline.

:D

Loquacis
12-07-2010, 03:30 AM
LOL guys. Thanks for the answers and the laugh. I really needed both today :)

GeorgeK
12-07-2010, 06:18 AM
If it's a modern construction building and an interior door, the solution is easy. Ignore the door and punch through the wall, assuming he can either squeeze between the studs (14 and 3/4 inch space between them if 2x 4's 16 inch on center which is standard for residential) or, punch out just enough to reach through and unlock the door. Tap on the wall, listen for the hollow area and it's just a half inch of plaster board, 3 and a half inches of empty space and another layer of plasterboard. Of course, maybe you wanted inconspicuous?

shaldna
12-07-2010, 03:58 PM
According to my brother who does fiddly and delicate things with locks and keys and clocks and such (all legal) he says yes. Apparently most locks that can be locked from the inside can be picked from the inside, unless it's a plate door on the inside where there is no lock to pick.

Kathie Freeman
12-09-2010, 08:26 PM
If the keyhole is on the outside, then the attaching screws are on the inside. If he has a pocketknife he can remove the inside plate and manipulate the lock with the knife blade. As a long-time handyperson I've installed numerous locks, both standard and deadbolt, and they all work the same way.

rtilryarms
12-09-2010, 11:27 PM
Go with Plot Devices andswer in post #4. The deadlatch closed and seats into the strikeplate due to the curved bolt and spring.

I would not try to get any more exotic than that

Drachen Jager
12-10-2010, 12:23 AM
Go with Plot Devices andswer in post #4. The deadlatch closed and seats into the strikeplate due to the curved bolt and spring.

I would not try to get any more exotic than that

It doesn't work on modern locks.

Open a door, look at the latch, it has two parts, the big rounded bit and a pin at the back. When the door is closed the pin is pressed in but the latch comes out.

Now, with your fingers, press the pin in. Now try to push the latch in, does it move? No! Why? To stop people from picking locks so easily!

Indoor locks often don't have this feature, but if your door was installed in the last thirty or fourty years it will most likely have the pin.

rtilryarms
12-10-2010, 01:44 AM
It doesn't work on modern locks.

Open a door, look at the latch, it has two parts, the big rounded bit and a pin at the back. When the door is closed the pin is pressed in but the latch comes out.

Now, with your fingers, press the pin in. Now try to push the latch in, does it move? No! Why? To stop people from picking locks so easily!

Indoor locks often don't have this feature, but if your door was installed in the last thirty or fourty years it will most likely have the pin.


It is true that when the hitch pin is retracted, the latch will not open but remember that the card is being inserted in the back bypassing the need to push the pin back. I tried it on a comercial computer door and it does work.

BUT there is a new problem - the door stop trim prevents the card from being inserted. I was able to force it in but it was very dificult. Something more flexible would be in order because a business card was too weak. but this is a heavy-duty door and latch.

Drachen Jager
12-10-2010, 03:04 AM
You don't understand what the pin does. If the pin is pushed IN the latch will not spring in due to pressure, it will only retract when the knob is turned. Pushing a credit card in there only pushes the pin IN further, locking it more. It doesn't matter which side you card it from.

rtilryarms
12-10-2010, 09:30 PM
You don't understand what the pin does. If the pin is pushed IN the latch will not spring in due to pressure, it will only retract when the knob is turned. Pushing a credit card in there only pushes the pin IN further, locking it more. It doesn't matter which side you card it from.

works on my door.

I would suggest that the op try it. If it works use it. if not write in an alternate method.

Drachen Jager
12-10-2010, 10:19 PM
works on my door.

If your door has the pin then it's not installed correctly.

rtilryarms
12-10-2010, 10:55 PM
If your door has the pin then it's not installed correctly.


sheesh. er ok

Mac H.
12-11-2010, 05:18 AM
If your door has the pin then it's not installed correctly.You are 100% right about the pin - but you'd be surprised how many aren't installed correctly. I thought they'd be pretty foolproof - but apparently people who install locks are pretty ingenious at doing something shoddy. The misinstalls seem to occur when they've put the lock in the wrong way - so they just reverse the fitting in the door without swapping around the strike plate too. That's my guess - there are some that I still haven't figured out how they managed to stuff it up like that.

Also - if you want to break into a place later you can drill out the spot where the pin goes - it will still lock perfectly well ... but now be able to be opened with a credit card if anyone decides to try.

Mac

rtilryarms
12-13-2010, 07:09 PM
The lesson on this thread is a reminder there are no fast answers. The original question asked if there was a way to pick a lock from the inside. And the poster was not picky about the kind of door.

In fact, the type of door was critical to get a proper answer.

What developed was a discussion on different interpretations of doors.

I assumed that a person was locked in a closet like in a house or even a store room in a warehouse or something. These pass-through or privacy doors do not have safeties on locks and can have tumblers on both knobs.

Another post challenged the solution because they assumed it was an entry door. Then to test his statement I went to my nearest door that had a pin my computer room door (I was at work). I was able to slide a card around the door frame stop and it opened.
The reason it opened was because I have an electric door strike installed for badge access. It cannot be broken into but it can be opened from the inside because the pin is swallowed, not set as in a normal door.

There are exceptions to every scenario which must be clarified.

It is critical to take out time in setting a scene and describe in detail in order not to be caught in a credibility trap as was I.

Good discussion.

rtilryarms
12-13-2010, 07:09 PM
please let us know how you solved the problem of the interior escape