Breaking And Entering

This morning at 0500 I got a text from my CFO asking if I was up – and of course I was because 0500 is when I start the day…

Then my cell rang and I was informed that the building alarms had gone off at 0315 and that he was there at the office with a dozen police officers since about 0330. So I rolled into the office fifteen minutes later to start the process of figuring out what happened…

My company owns the entire building, but only operates out of the upper of the three floors. The first and second floors are tenant spaces we rent out. And while the third floor is much more secure than the other two, the entire building is rather secure.

I designed the building’s physical security to follow a nested access plan – meaning that the level of intrusion prevention escalates as you make your way into the building from the common areas. The core hallways, for fire escape reasons, are generally open and are only secured at the building perimeter – so if you get past the main entry doors you have access to the two stairwells, the elevator, and the core hallways that lead to either tenant spaces of the nested security rings of the third floor.

The lobbies and core hallways have about a dozen cameras, which form a small portion of the 63 cameras in / on the building, and to leave the core hallway on the third floor requires proxcard access to get anywhere – even the break room.

With that said, at 1930 yesterday the first contestant, who I will call 80’s hair guy, arrived via bicycle and was recorded wandering around the perimeter of the building for about a half an hour before defeating the mag-lock sliding doors at the main entry… Defeating sliding doors is trivial as the fire code mandates that there be a motion sensor on the inside of the door that will unlock and actuate them in event of an emergency, so all one really has to do is stick something though the gap in the door and wiggle it for the sensor.

80’s hair guy then proceeds to case the core hallways of the three floors, where I get dozens of high-rez images of his face, hands, body, etc. He manages to jimmy the lock on a janitorial closet on the second floor and acquired a backpack vacuum before hiding out in the south stairwell for a half an hour. I assume he was waiting to see if the police showed up, and the vacuum was an “I’m with the cleaning crew” excuse.

Being as we really do have a cleaning crew that operates in that time window on random days, no alarms were triggered.

All told, 80’s hair guy was in the building for about an hour from 1930 to about 2030 before exiting.

At about 0230 80’s hair guy returns with an accomplice who I will call ball cap guy. 80’s hair guy is now in antifa-style black-bloc with the stereotypical black bandanna mask, black hoodie, black t-shirt with optional doofus slogan on it, and black skinny-jeans. Ball cap is in a gray sweatshirt and beat up bluejeans.

80’s hair guy once again defeats the sliding doors and they spend the next half an hour spray-painting the core hallway cameras, looking through the empty third-floor common area lockers where testers leave their cellphones and whatnot to go into the biometric-secured special project labs (these were empty as it was after hours), and trying various doors on the third floor… Said doors are probably two-hundred pound solid core fire-doors set in steel frames anchored into the concrete floor/ceiling with cross-bolted steel strike plate covers and security-grade electric strikers… They are really quite resistant to tampering.

This didn’t stop these two from attempting to fish under the doors to catch the inside handle and open them – which never worked for the above reasons. Also, all of the security cameras they spray-painted simply went into infrared mode and filmed them through the paint, which is why I have a minute-by-minute replay of both trips into the building, in glorious 4k resolution, which has been turned over to the local police.

All of the third floor doors have bright red LEDs next to them to indicate the space beyond them is armed, save for three emergency doors. Team Knucklehead, after spending ten minutes rifling empty lockers, eventually decides to try and force the emergency door on the third floor into the admin section…

They fish the door for a few minutes and get nowhere, then take a pry-bar to the strike plate cover and don’t really get anywhere there either (did I mention these doors are serious business?)… Eventually Ball Cap guy gets frustrated, places a foot on the door jam, and tries to simply overpower the striker which is rated for something like a half-ton of force…

This moves the door about a half a centimeter in the door frame, which is enough to upset the magnetic reed switch, and instantly the entire building is filled with 110db alarm sirens.

Roughly 30 seconds later the alarm company has called the police, my CFO, and me – though I had my phone off because sleep is kinda cool.

Team Knucklehead dives down the back stairwell, grabbing a janitorial trash can and a backpack vacuum, and heads out the main entry – where they drop the vacuum and trash can, grab their bikes, and sneak around the back-side of the building to escape across the street.

Interestingly, 80’s hair guy left a digital camera under the stairs where he was hiding out and stashed his backpack on the first foray into the building, which I then analyzed and ran an undelete sweep on. It had some video and photos on it of some apartment full of probably stollen junk, a few guys, and tons of drug paraphernalia… This has also been turned over to the local police.

And that was my day.

I hope they return; it was funny watching them bumble around and bounce off of my security… My systems are up for another round if they are. 🙂

Listening to "Who's Behind the Door?" by Zebra