Liberty Locksmiths

Story of Locksmith

With 37 years in the business, Rob Kowal still encounters formidable locks—and clients.

Rob Kowal

Rob Kowal

ROBERTO GONZALEZ

Meet the smiths. His last name “is short for Kowalski,” Kowal explains. “In Polish, ‘-ski’ means ‘son of.’ For us, it was ‘son of blacksmith.’ His father liked the idea of being a smith, so “he started a locksmith’s shop in Carson City, Nevada. He taught my oldest brother, who taught me, and then I taught my younger brother.”

Born around the Fourth of July. That’s when Kowal founded Liberty Locksmith of Apopka in 1999, three years after he arrived in Central Florida. As for the name, “My grandfather came to Ellis Island from Poland in the early 1900s, and settled in Jersey City, which is how we got the name Liberty, because the Statue of Liberty is in Jersey City. It was in my backyard.”

Buyer beware. “Most states don’t require locksmiths to have a criminal background check,” including Florida, says Kowal, whose website prominently advertises his criminal background check policy. “You’ve got criminals coming out of jail for breaking and entering.” When they can’t get a job, they consider becoming a locksmith. No one is going to ask any questions. “You just go downtown and get a business license, and that’s all you need.”

Locksmith beware. “So I went to this one house in downtown Orlando. The woman wasn’t acting right.” Kowal requires a valid ID to open a house for someone, but the woman said her license was locked inside the home. It turned out the house belonged to her brother, who had recently died; she had driven from Tampa to get at his possessions before her sister did. Kowal called police.

A lot of experience and a little luck. Unlike TV representations of lockpicking, “it takes two tools: a turning wrench and then the pick.” And some locks won’t give no matter what. “You can’t always pick a lock. There are more and more locks that are not pickable, and you have to drill them out.”

Safety is key. “People should rekey their locks, but they don’t. It’s silly. They buy a new house, and they don’t rekey the lock. It’s cheap insurance.”

He’s left cars in the dust. Cars are too cost-prohibitive to justify Kowal’s time. “You have to put so much money into the electronic programming equipment and the electronic key fobs, and then every six months you have to buy an update because they change. People say, ‘I had to pay $250 for this key.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I had to pay $10,000 to make it.’ ”

Working evictions is the worst. “I’ve done a couple where they had the sheriff there, and they had a moving company there. People were literally getting dragged out of the house, and their furniture was getting dragged to the street.”

Late-night sting. Kowal has done undercover work for the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. One middle-of-the-night operation required Kowal to enter the house, storage unit and office  belonging to a suspect. After opening the building, “I’m sitting in my car and these guys are all covered with helmets and machine guns, and I thought, “What am I getting myself into here?”

Hotel and Bank Safety Deposit Boxes

Hotel and Bank safety deposit box lock and keys service duplicated, opened and replaced, yeah we do that!

Just some interesting pics

Just some interesting pictures of old antique locks…

Looking for a Safe?

HOLLON  HS-1000E

Are you looking for a safe that is built with state of the art technology?, made to provide superior protection for your documents and valuables against both fire and burglary.

hollon-2-hour-fireproof-office-safe-hs-1000e-11

Known as the Ultimate Protection Machine when it comes to Safes

Hollon Office Safes are rated for an industry leading 2 full hours at 1700 degrees far surpassing the average home safe on the market today. The door construction provides a recessed curvature which supply’s a virtually air tight seal preventing smoke damage during a fire as well. With 3-way locking chrome bolt work, these safes are able to survive a 30- foot impact test simulating a two story fall onto concrete. It also has a anchoring hole on the bottom of the safe and bolting hardware is included.

Easy to use Electronic Lock available on this Safe

The easy to use electronic lock gives you the ability to open the safe quickly, and also offers fast and easy combination change ability. The built in detent feature insures that the door will automatically lock when it shuts, eliminating the chance of leaving the safe unlocked.

SPECIFICATIONS

*EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS  36 1/2 (H) X 23 5/8 (W) X 21 (D)

* INTERIOR DIMENSIONS  30 5/9 (H) X 17 5/9 (W) X 14 1/16 (D)

* CUBIC FEET  4

* WEIGHT  440 LBS

FEATURES

* 2 HOUR FIRE RATE @1700 DEGREES

* 30 FOOT IMPACT RATED

* ELECTRONIC LOCK

* 3 WAY LOCKING CHROME BOLT WORK

* INTERIOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVES

* AUTOMATIC DOOR DETENT

* FACTORY WARRANTY

Visit our showroom today!

Liberty Commercial Doors Services

This may not look like much, but you can not operate  commercial doors in a building

…without having a door closer and exit bar and it must be inspected and passed in order to get your certificate of occupancy. Liberty Locksmiths and Liberty commercial door services makes sure that the right hardware is installed properly and it works the way it’s supposed to.
Commercial Doors

LOCK OVERKILL?

Can you really put too many locks on a door and have Lock Overkill?

I’m sure you’ve probably seen it somewhere – TV or a movie.     The person goes to their front door, opens/turns two or three deadbolts, releases a chain or two, plus the knob – maybe it takes about five or more seconds to undo the locks, then opens the door.    So you think, wow… that door’s really secure, right???

OR IS IT?

Let’s think to the simplest form of a door.   What is it?   It’s an opening in a solid wall, that can be closed and secured.. AND when closed, you’d like it to be as solid as the rest of the wall, for security, right?  Right….   In the above scenario, yes, that ONE SIDE of the door is super secure…   but what about the hinge side.   If there’s only two or three hinges on that apartment/house door, and possibly improper hinges at that, (not having pins in them to secure the door frame to the door when closed) it MAKES NO DIFFERENCE how many locks they have on the door, as a person could get in easier on the hinged side.

This is especially true with ‘outswing’ doors that open to the outside, rather than swinging inside the home.    If the wrong kind of hinges are used, or older ones, etc., a person needs only a small hammer, a hole punch or small nail, and they can just pound up the hinge pin, and then with a screwdriver pry the door open from the hinge side, NOT THE SIDE with all the locks….  There are newer hinges, special hinge pins, or even just a quick fix with a couple screws that can make that door secure on the hinge side, as well as the knob/lock side, so it can’t be pried off the frame within seconds.

More important than the number of locks on the door, in one sense, is that the locks you do have on that door are INSTALLED PROPERLY and FUNCTIONING PROPERLY….  We, at Liberty Locksmiths, have seen improper installation of deadbolts and locks from low/mid-range homes, on up to homes costing millions of dollars.   While the deadbolt itself functions perfectly, the hole on the actual frame of the door is not deep enough, thereby not allowing the bolt to extend fully to the locked position.   In essence, while the bolt might go into the hole and keep the door from swinging open, a simple knife,  screwdriver, or even the proverbial credit card,  can slide the latch or bolt back and a burglar is in.   Simple fix – the hole has to be drilled deeper to allow the bolt to do its job.
There are also numerous other procedures that can be done to make your door jambs solid, like longer screws for the strike plates which screw further into the wall instead of just the door frame, over-sized strike plates,  specifically built to withstand forced entry, to name just a few others..

Hopefully reading the above has given you a bit of insight into the way locks actually work on doors.    Please keep in mind we’re here to help you with information over the phone, if possible.   If you send us pictures of your potential problems, we’ll do out best to give you ideas on how to test the issues above.   As always, it’s our job to make you feel safe and secure.
Thanks for reading….   Please don’t hesitate to call on us. 407-260=2727