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Man Cracks Museum Safe Locked for 40 Years in First Attempt, Baffles Onlookers

A safe remained locked for four decades at a museum in Canada until a man cracked it open recently— in his first attempt no less.

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Updated:June 10, 2019, 6:31 PM IST
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Man Cracks Museum Safe Locked for 40 Years in First Attempt, Baffles Onlookers
Image by Vermilion Museum / Facebook.
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A safe remained locked for four decades at a museum in Canada until a man cracked it open recently — in his first attempt no less.

Stephen Mills was on a tour of the Vermilion Heritage Museum in Alberta with his family when he was shown the 2,000-pound safe, the Vermilion Standard reported.

The safe, which was donated to the museum and had previously been used by a local hotel, had not been opened since the 1970s despite multiple attempts by code-crackers.

Mills stunned onlookers as he put his ear to the lock and then turned the knob a few times to open the safe's door.

"Typical combination lock, three times clockwise - 20 - two times counterclockwise - 40 - once clockwise - 60, tried the handle and it went," Mills told the BBC.

The safe contained some papers from 1977 and 1978 including a pay sheet and part of a restaurant order pad, according to the BBC.

On the pad were receipts for a C$1.50 ($1.12) mushroom burger and a C$1 ($0.75) packet of cigarettes.

“Yes our safe was opened. How exciting,” confirmed the museum, in a Facebook post.

“Our little museum is getting some National attention this is great,” the museum added, in another Facebook post.

Mills was praised for his safe-cracking skills online. "What luck? Well done young man," wrote one commenter. "You'll be the next 'oceans 14'. Awesome," quipped another.

The safe is believed to have been bought in 1907, according to the BBC.

University of Toronto's Jeffrey Rosenthal who has authored Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything said the chance of correctly guessing the combination on one try was 1 in 216,000.

That is if the safe numbers actually ran from one to 60.

Some combination locks allow for wiggle-room and if this one had a three-digit leeway, Rosenthal said, the chances were 1 in 8,000.

That’s still a “small chance," Rosenthal told the BBC.

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