Break Into a Locked Suitcase With a Pen

February 24th, 2011 § 1 comment

Here’s a surprisingly simple trick for opening a locked suitcase from Lifehacker: simply plunge a ballpoint pen into the zipper, which separates the teeth and allows you to open the suitcase. The pull can than be run around the zipper once again, resealing the suitcase and leaving no evidence of tampering. Check out the video at the link to see it in action.

Watch the video above to see how a pen can be turned into a suitcase-cracking tool. In the demonstration they use a ballpoint pen to exert pressure on the zipper of a suitcase. The pressure causes the teeth to separate, effectively opening the suitcase.

The secret sauce in this hack of dubious ethics, however, isn’t the pen (you could always slice a suitcase open with a knife if you wanted in that badly after all) but in the zipper mechanism itself. Zippers are self healing and if you run the zipper pull (still securely locked to the other pull, we might add) along the zipper track you’ll reseal the suitcase as though you were never there.

Dave Lord also gives some advice for defending against this trick in the comments:

I use a “clam shell” style suitcase made of ABS. Obviously this trick won’t work with that type of luggage.
You can buy a tamper proof tie that will secure the case. There are a few different brands, but they all work something like a cable tie. Each one has an unique serial number.
After it is applied, there is no way to open the case without breaking the tie. As an extra security measure, I photograph the serial number on the tie at the baggage check-in on my camera phone, with myself in the photo. The phone automatically uploads the pic to dropbox, complete with all exif data, including GPS position. It is not hard evidence, but every bit of evidence helps if you are wrongly accused.

Open a Locked Suitcase Without Leaving a Trace

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