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?