A retired New Jersey locksmith sold a "firemen's key ring" on eBay to a New York Post reporter, alarming some city officials who fear the keys—at least those that apparently still work—could be used for evil.
Daniel Ferraris, the 69-year-old retired locksmith from Union City, N.J., sold the set of five keys to the "undercover" reporter for $149.95.
According to the paper, three of them were standard-issue keys given to members of the New York fire department (one had a metal dog tag embossed with an FDNY lieutenant's shield number) and one was an all-purpose "1620"—a master firefighter key that, as the Post described in an alarming tone, "could trap thousands of people in a skyscraper" with one turn. According to the paper, the set "would allow control of virtually any elevator in the city, could knock out power to municipal buildings, darken city streets, open subway gates and some firehouse doors and provide full access to 1 World Trade Center and other construction sites."
In his eBay listing, Ferraris wrote that all of the keys were "OBSOLETE and have Not been in use in years."
It's unclear how he obtained the key ring. The FDNY and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office said they are investigating the sale.
Other city officials are outraged.
"We cannot let anyone sell the safety of over 8 million people so easily," New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "Having these keys on the open market literally puts lives at risk. The billions we've spent on counterterrorism have been severely undercut by this [breach]."
Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the NYC's Public Safety Committee, said the city should consider changing all of its locks.
"Think about the people at Occupy Wall Street who hate the NYPD, hate the establishment," a former member of the FDNY told the Post. "They would love to have a set. Wouldn't it be nice to walk in and disable Chase's elevators?"
While Ferraris' auction is closed, it's worth noting there are thousands of "vintage keys" for sale on eBay.