Police departments are issuing a warning for officers to be aware of a tiny, cheap, non-metallic key that claims to be able to unlock any pair of handcuffs.
The Covert Hide Out Handcuff Key is easily concealable under a sweatshirt or coat zipper and goes for under $10 on Amazon.
Here’s the product description for a version by ASR Tactical:
This is the best hide-out handcuff key that we’ve ever seen. Constructed of a special durable composite, this universal key can be there for you when you need it most. Tiny and lightweight, it can be hidden on or about your body or clothing so that it can not be easily spotted, yet be ready for your use if needed. The design features two lanyard holes so that it can be sewn into or suspended in your clothing or gear. A must-have item for anyone working undercover or operating in a hostile environment. Color: black.
- Previously only available to law enforcement. Now available on Amazon to the general public
- Constructed of a special durable composite
- Size of a Quarter
- Tiny and lightweight: Size: 0.5″ x 1″. Weight: 0.02 oz.
- Features alanyard holes so that it can be sewn into or suspended in your clothing or gear
The NYPD sent out an internal memo to its officers last month warning them of the key. Gothamist reported that the department hasn’t arrested anyone yet for using the specialized key — nor have it found anyone with one in his or her possession — but it is something it wants officers to be conscious of.
Florida State Fraternal Order of Police have a fact sheet showing images of the key as well.
According to product reviews, people are saying that the key works even if it “feels a bit flimsy.”
But the New York Daily News called out how the product seems to have a bit of a fishy background:
Efforts to reach the maker of the key, which is listed as ASR Tactical, were unsuccessful. A domain name for the company belonged to a 37-year-old man from Laguna Beach, Calif. He denied having anything to do with the business, and was stunned to hear the concealed key was being sold in ASR Tactical’s name.
“I don’t manufacture anything; I don’t sell anything,” he said, adding he bought the domain three years ago but wasn’t using it.
He then called the police on a reporter hoping to speak with him outside his home.
When the Laguna Beach PD arrived, it was equally stunned by the availability of the plastic handcuff key.
“Where can I get a copy of this?” asked the officer, pointing to a printout of the Amazon posting.
The cop then jotted down information on the key and left.
The Daily News also reported Al Nasseri, a manager with the law enforcement equipment supplier Uniform Warehouse, which only sells products to customers who verify they are law enforcement members, saying he hadn’t heard of this type of key before and that he thinks it might be “a new fad.”
Either way, Nasseri said “it’s scary” and that he hopes law enforcement is “looking into it.”
Although not the same universal, plastic handcuff key, here’s a video showing a product review for a similar one only available to law enforcement:
(H/T: Daily Mail)