Guys Trying To Open A Locked Safe In A Former Gang House Finally Get The Break They Need

At some point, you’ve probably dreamed of stumbling across a hidden passageway to another world or finding a long-forgotten treasure. Admittedly, there’s something fun about indulging the idea that the spaces most familiar to us might be hiding dark secrets. Still, these fantasies remain unrealized—except for one man.

In 2013, this man and his friends moved into a New Zealand home that had once been rented to members of a violent gang. While the house itself appeared in tip-top shape, something locked away in the highly-secured basement piqued more than just his own curiosities…

In March 2013, a Reddit user named dont_stop_me_smee posted an intriguing mystery to one of the site’s most heavily-trafficked forums. See, he and his friend in New Zealand had moved into a house once rented by a gang, and they discovered something interesting was hiding beyond a gate.

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While nothing seemed out of the ordinary about most of the home, the basement had been fortified with bars on the window and thick steel bars. All of these protections safeguarded a vault with a heavy steel door built into the basement wall.

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Close-up photos of the vault revealed the door was locked with a dial, and curiously, pieces of brown tape had been carefully arranged around it. Was the tape some kind of hint as to what the code to the vault was?

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The gravity of this discovery was not lost on the Reddit community, either, and that this vault lived in what had once been a gang house only fueled the theories as to what might be inside. Drugs? Weapons? Gold bars like the vault below? The people had to know.

With community interest levels reaching critical mass, dont_stop_me_smee promised he and his friend would get the safe open and share its contents with everyone following the thread. But that wasn’t going to be an easy task…

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So began their adventure! Redditors with all kinds of professional backgrounds chimed in with advice on getting the thing open. The first suggestion that caught on was made by Reddit user Tof1911…

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“Please don’t take any kind of torch to it,” the user wrote. “It is a Sargent and Green Leaf Dial 6630 I believe,” which meant he’d have to crack the combo using a special stethoscope. The gears on that type of vault were extremely complex.

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Despite this Reddit user’s professional experience with safes, however, the original poster of the vault continued to welcome advice from other readers. Another user who repaired forge machinery for a living suggested that “the easiest [thing] to do would be to carbon-arc it.”

This, too, proved a problematic suggestion for the renters though. “I was hoping to avoid destroying anything,” dont_stop_me_smee wrote, “the landlord will go mental.” Nevertheless, the poster made a promise to have the safe opened by New Year’s Day.

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Still, Redditor appetites had been whetted. They were hungry to see what was inside that safe and grew frustrated as months passed without meaningful progress or updates. But then, on December 23, there was a new development…

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The original poster dont_stop_me_smee had moved out of the house without ever opening the safe. But the new tenant, another Redditor named mantisnzl, discovered the safe himself—and he was a man of action.

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The new tenant didn’t waste time with stethoscopes or safe-cracking—and more importantly, he didn’t care about upsetting the landlord. He just grabbed an angle grinder and a crow bar.

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Finally, the moment of truth arrived. Redditor mantisnzl was “hoping for a dead body or some sort of mob stash” to be hiding within the locked vault. Once he cut the door open, he—along with thousands of curious Redditors—had their answer.

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When mantisnzl stepped inside the vault, he didn’t find the answers to a decades-old crime. He didn’t find fat stacks of cash abandoned in a hurry by a fleeing gang. He didn’t even find a single bullet casing. So what did he find?

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He found a single spider, hanging delicately from its web. “It was a let down,” he wrote. “Instead it’s just… the shattered hopes and dreams of thousands of Redditors, myself included.” Was this the end of the great safe mystery?

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Invested Redditors couldn’t hold back their disappointment in the final reveal. Many compared the moment to when Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s secret vault on live TV, only to find nothing. Other Redditors coped in strange ways…

“I could see… that everyone’s ‘safe addiction’ was not satisfied,” wrote one user who made a few joking edits to the images of the empty safe. “Just squint your eyes and believe, just… try… to… believe.” But still, mantisnzl found value in the safe.

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Safes are meant to protect valuables, right? Well, mantisnzl put it to work doing just that. After the disappointment of finding nothing wore off, he converted the vault into a storage for beer and liquor. Not a bad look for home design!

And while disappointment at the safe’s contents—or lack thereof—still dominated the Reddit thread, plenty of people felt positively about their involvement in the entire vault mystery.

As Reddit user Tredid wrote, “I don’t even care that it was empty. I’m just happy that I lived to see the day [it was finally opened].” Indeed, this community was brought together by the safe’s intrigue, and that has to be worth something, right?

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What a puzzle! Even though there was ultimately nothing hiding in the locked basement vault, it was still an exciting journey getting it open!

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