Apartment 5A – front door key

There is a video or article hanging around the case in which an ‘expert’ explains that the front door key of apartment 5A is a cruciform or cross key. Further, he opines that cruciform keys are difficult to duplicate, therefore entry to 5A was likely to be via the patio doors.

Is he correct? It would greatly simply matters if this was the case.

The key to apartment 5A was a cross key. Cruciform keys are common in the Algarve. My current residence has a cruciform key.

The problem with physical keys (as opposed to cards), is that people lose them. In Luz, that could be at the beach, or perhaps at the nearby zoo, or on an outing to Lagos. Or guests at the Ocean Club could do what hotel guests sometimes do – forget to hand the key back in and fly home with it.

There is a current news story that shortly before Madeleine disappeared, a worker in the Ocean Club lost all the keys for block 5, and that the Ocean Club is hushing this up.

If the key expert and this report are both true, it would be a major hush-up. With the keys to block 5 gone, and no method of key replacement, the only alternative is lock replacement. That is a brand new lock for each Ocean Club apartment in block 5A (at some considerable cost), plus taking the old locks out and fitting the new ones. Lots of repair-men on the job.

This takes us back into conspiracy land, as not a soul mentioned a large loss of keys at the time, let alone replacing every OC lock in block 5.

Plus there is the small problem that the lock on 5A was not new, and the key touted as being for 5A was not new.

It should come as no surprise that the worker named as the one losing this string of keys denies the story.

Turning back to reality, how does the Ocean Club survive the loss of individual keys?

Well, cruciform keys without duplication ability is a bit like diesel cars with no stations selling diesel. It is simply nonsensical.

If you Google cruciform key cutter (or cross key cutter, or E111 key cutter as that seems to be the technical term), it should take you under 5 minutes to find a seller of cheap key duplication machines, where said machine handles the ‘normal’ range of keys and also does cruciform keys. I could find several alternatives in the low 300€ price range.

That makes more sense. Cruciform keys are common, and kit to duplicate cross keys is very definitely around. So much for the ‘expert’.

If you use Google street-view to have a look at Rua Direita in Luz, just a little further up the road from the Ocean Club reception at 44 there is a small, dusty looking shop on the same side. It does hardware and odd bits and bobs. It is affectionately known in Luz as Arkwright’s, of Open All Hours fame.

It has a sign in the window showing that it duplicates keys. I don’t know if it can duplicate cruciform keys, but as the duplicators are cheap and cross-keys are common in this neck of the woods, it would be losing a lot of lucrative business if it can’t.

Equally, I have no idea if Arkwright´s offered key duplication before May 2007. I have not (yet) found anything in the PJ files to explain if this angle was checked.

However, I would be astounded to find that you could not get a cruciform key duplicated in Lagos, and that is around 5 minutes away by car.

This finding greatly complicates the Madeleine McCann case. The front door has become vulnerable. You don’t need to force it. You don’t need to pop the latch using a credit card, which Gonçalo Amaral showed could not be done at 5A

So you have an easy entry point that would not show up as a burglary. As long, that is, as you could get your hands on a key, whether one of the originals, or by getting a duplicate cut.

The question now becomes – who had access to the keys of 5A?

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8 thoughts on “Apartment 5A – front door key

  1. I’m glad you’re having a look at this now. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times to you, as I do think it’s an important piece of unlocking this puzzle, pun intended.

    I’m going to get back to you when I have more time, but I wanted to ask a couple of questions first.

    Why do you say this is a current story? Is it circulating again now? Outside of me keeping bringing it up, I mean! It goes right back, IIRC. But I’ve got to get the sources I originally encountered to be sure. Do you have a current news source on that?

    And this bit really escapes me. Why do you suggest that if 5A had not got new locks and/or a new key on 3/5/07 that it contradicts the missing bunch story? Surely the opposite is true? I mean, the stolen bunch rumour has no legs if the locks and keys had recently been replaced, no? The idea is that a bunch was lifted, and the OC did not react. Not that a bunch disappeared and they quietly replaced all the locks. Lost me there.

    • Just checked the dates on what I’ve got and the most recent is Feb 2014, so my describing it as a recent story is most probably wrong.

      Whether an intruder could swan in and out of the front door at will strikes me as 100% relevant. Could or could not the person have gone in through the intact, unbreached front door of 5A?

      • You know, the video that I think contained the most relevant information on this has been taken down. Happened a few days ago. Pretty annoying. The YT account has been closed. I had it open, and was about to watch it, but they lifted it meanwhile. In any case, it was far further back in time. A particular PI spent a good deal of time blending in and asking the staff questions. I’d say it was within a year. It was established that countless small-scale thefts had taken place since said bunch of keys went AWOL. We’re talking phones, small cash sums, jewellery… the staff knew about these happenings, and registered them… some even knew about they keys… All had no evidence of a break-in. A couple of times witnesses see thieves hopping out a window they had opened themselves from the inside as an escape route, which is again relevant.

        Now, that’s not to say it’s necessarily linked. What it means, if accurate, is that the front door was never secure. I also don’t think it’s a massive stretch of the imagination to ponder that MW would not be shouting about this from the rooftops. And clearly, the man accused would deny it.

        I suppose it gets complicated as access to the front door is not necessary for this crime to take place, because the patio doors were unsecured. But if a kidnapper could come and go by the front, it changes the scene significantly. Not to stray too far off-topic, but this does remind me of a case in the USA that’s often mentioned in conjunction with this one, that of Jon-benet Ramsay. Again, a rather stressed and incompetent police force pins all hopes of solving the case on convicting the parents of murdering their daughter. Another botched scene of the crime. They said nobody could have gotten in or out as the parents had set the alarm before going to bed. But they ignored reams of evidence of two local offenders whose MO was to sneak into a house beforehand and hide until the middle of the night. One child had been abused in very similar circumstances, alarm on… the mother disturbed the pervert, and the father petitioned the police to compare the cases, but to no avail. Case remains unsolved… difference being they had tonnes of evidence, DNA and forensic, plus the victim’s body. But similarities are in the police failings and a possible massive change in the entry/egress being entirely over-looked. Also, I suppose, of perverts sneaking into occupied residences.

        So back to this case for a moment. A couple of people who have been haranguing the McCanns for 7 odd years full-time produced various leaflets explaining why in their mad views they were guilty. One of those is taken up in the recent and incredibly shoddy documentary (over 4 hours, I don’t recommend it, but you’ll know the one) when dealing with the window question. The amateur (very amateur) presenter sneers at Kate’s suggestions that the window could have been opened as an escape route, or even to throw investigators off the scent. He calls that ludicrous. Both are, however, despite his Novocastrian contempt at the ideas, very plausible if the key situation is as above.

        Emergency escape route necessary? Tick.
        Handy to have a look to see if coast is clear? Tick.
        Dissuades people from asking about how they got in and out? Tick and tick.

        If the kidnapper(s) had the front door keys and used those, they would not want people following that line… because they’re only a few steps removed, if that, from the fellow who ‘lost’/sold them. If they had the keys, they don’t need even to know about the patio doors being unlocked. Maybe they didn’t know! It’s possible. Either way, opening the window adds a third possible exit and entry point. Now, it’s a red herring… but whether you know about the patio or not, if you’ve a set of keys in your hand as a kidnapper, it makes sense to attempt to lead investigations well away from that.

      • We’re running a Murder Mystery night of 20th Dec, nothing to do with Madeleine, but perhaps you should book a slot and get over here.

        On the keys, I think this is a real weakness, whether it is the answer or not, and frankly, I cannot prove this one way or another.

        Emergency escape route. Coast is clear. Red herring by an abductor. All possible, but I’m not convinced by any. I just can’t see why.

      • That sounds like fun. Cheers. I am actually trying to organise getting away around that time…

        So are you saying none of those reasons for opening the window convince you? Yet you believe the window was opened? So, what, you’re back to T9 staging? Or you think an abductor opened it for an entirely different reason?

        If nobody went in or out of the window, you are left with the three motives I mentioned, and then perhaps the passing of MBM through the window, which strikes me as unlikely. Or the mega-conspiracy. Don’t see any other possibilities.

      • The shutters and open window are problematic for many a reason.

        In particular, they turn the scenario from a simple abduction theory (in-out patio doors, OR in-out front doors) into a complex abduction theory. Why the windows if the apartment was already so leaky?

        They turn burglary-gone-wrong from simple to complex.

        They turn Madeleine-wandered-off from simple to complex.

        What they do is decrease the possibility of abduction/burglary/child-wandering, which increases the likelihood of active involvement by the McCanns. This is not hard evidence, just a tweaking of probabilities.

        Personally, I would love to see Kate take a lie-detector test, fail it on the state of the gates and the window/shutter, and thereby increase the probability of a pre-planned abduction. That would be wonderful, but it’s not going to happen.

        Should you manage to get away over the festive period, and should you decide to pick Luz or nearby for some winter sun, I’ll be happy to show you all the sites associated with this so you can see what it looks like on the ground.

        Plus, a local hostelry is running a Murder Mystery event on Dec 20, according to my sources. This has nothing to do with Madeleine, its just a bit of festive-themed fun. 20€ gets you a glass of real champagne on arrival, a hearty meal, a bottle of (very decent) house wine, and a role in the fun and games.

        Just think, it could turn out that YOU are revealed as a murderer in Luz!

  2. Wait, you’re saying if they couldn’t reproduce cruciform keys, and had a bunch missing, they’d then need to replace all the locks because the magic keys were missing and the system no longer worked, and that being some time afterwards. Got it… I think! But they could reproduce them, so that’s all irrelevant? Is that your point?

    • My point is, simply, that folks could duplicate the front key using 2007 technology. Therefore, folks with permanent access to the keys could get into 5A. Folks with temporary access to the keys could easily get a duplicate.

      The list of folks with permanent or temporary access is large.

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