By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
A new lock might hold the key for Killeen residents to defend themselves against burglary.
J.T. Boyer, owner of Lonestar R.V. in Harker Heights, has invested in a Houston-based security company that created a lock that Boyer and the inventor said can withstand a police battering ram.
"The Ultimate Lock," as it is called, was invented by Ron Daniels, a reserve captain with the Harris County constable in Houston.
A personal connection to a burglary that turned fatal in 2005 motivated Boyer to become an investor, he said.
A friend of his had his door kicked in and was about to the victim of a burglary when a home security alarm scared the would-be burglars away. However, the burglars went a few blocks over and killed Capt. Jason Luz Gonzalez of Fort Hood.
"If it can happen to him, it can happen to my family," Boyer said.
Boyer believes the lock will help protect people around the world from tragedies like the one that happened to Gonzalez, and said the lock would be especially beneficial to Killeen residents, who live in the city with Texas' highest burglary rate.
Boyer and Daniels said Internet Web sites put too much information out there for criminals, which makes breaking into homes too easy and too common.
"It's all over the Internet how to kick a door in," Boyer said. "Ours is a system. It takes the door and makes it part of the wall. You can kick a door in, but you can't kick a wall in."
The lock has been tested by police SWAT teams in northern Virginia who were unable to penetrate the lock, Daniels said.
"Even a police battering ram will not open the door," Bower said.
Daniels said the lock's screws are essential to the device to being able to withstand such high levels of force. He said traditional lock screws are shorter in length and go into a wall straight. However, the screws in the ultimate lock are longer, and they go in the wall at an angle, so the more the doors is kicked, the more the screws bend in the wall in such a way to increase the amount of force the door can withstand.
Boyer was preparing the commercial version of the lock, which Daniels said supports up to 8,000 pounds of force, for a viewing, when Boyer attempted to kick the door in as a test, and when he did, he broke his knee.
"I'm 6 foot, 255 pounds and I know how to kick a door in," Boyer said. "I tried to kick the door in and because of that, they are going to have to replace my knee in the summer or fall."
The lock contains four degrees of protection. Daniels said the lock is stronger than any dead bolt sold in stores, cannot be kicked in or "bump keyed," and has a "lockout mode" that makes duplicate keys useless.
A person can activate the lockout mode by pushing a button from the inside of the home and it will deactivate the locking mechanism from the lock, therefore preventing the door from being unlocked, Daniels said. The system takes seconds to activate and was an important part of the design because sometimes people need to keep out people they once trusted, as in domestic violence situations, he said.
"It allows occupants enough time to call 911, get to a safe room and stop someone from intruding," Daniels said.
If the lock is installed in a room within a house, it can make the room a safe room, where potential victims can hide in for protection until the authorities arrive.
Daniels has worked in law enforcement for close to 15 years and said he became frustrated when he and other officers would do their best to reach a home and stop a crime, only to arrive at the home to find they were too late. He remembered vividly one crime scene where the doors had been kicked in and a perpetrator took out his frustrations with his wife on his children.
"It was the most horrendous thing you could possibly ever imagine," Daniels said. "Those poor, innocent children had done absolutely nothing to do deserve that and they were maimed for life."
After too many incidents where a stronger door could have been the difference, Daniels started researching locks; and the more he researched, the more he realized there wasn't a lock available to the public that could withstand enough force to protect homeowners and businesses from criminals. Daniels came up with an idea that if the screws in the lock ran deeper into the door jamb and even the wall, then the lock would gain support from the adjoining wall.
Through NASA's Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, he received grant funding to research and refine his idea, which he has patented in the U.S.
After six years of research and testing, Daniels will release the first residential version of the lock March 1. The residential version is supposed to be able to withstand 4,000 pounds of pressure, while the commercial lock can withstand 8,000 pounds of pressure.
However, the amount of pressure the lock can withstand depends to some degree on the strength of building's existing structure, Daniels said. Enough pressure would make it possible for the door jamb to be ripped out of the socket in certain instances, but Daniels said most people who attempt break-ins lack the equipment to apply such pressure.
Boyer hopes the lock will make Killeen residents safer and save lives.
"I'm a businessman," Boyer said. "I want to see more people move here instead of run from here."
The lock can be ordered online starting March 1 and can be installed by Pop-a-Lock of America for $299.
For more information visit, www.theultimatelock.com
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7468