Check Cashing Store
For some reason we have recently had a significant increase in the amount of check cashing stores in Central Florida. We're pretty sure they are increasing across the nation. These business typically have a large amount of cash on hand, and therefore take security pretty seriously. This translates into difficult forcible entries, and interesting search problems.
From the outside this rear door doesn't look like much. (photo above) This particular door doesn't display the tell-tale bolts alerting us to an interior drop bar type or any other hardened locking mechanism. Notice the custom use of expandable foam at the bottom, they must not use this door regularly.
But from the inside we can see something we may not have expected. (photo above) This type of lock secures the door on all four sides (hinges on left), making forcible entry much more difficult. That's the point! They don't want anyone breaking in, even us. There are a few different forcible entry options, one will be explained at the bottom of this page.
The interior of these occupancies are typically divided in half, The front half for the customers, and the rear half for the employees. Bulletproof glass is frequently used as the interior partition. This partition uses a type of door that we had not seen previously. (photo above) This door remains closed most of the time. Notice the extra lock at the top portion of the door.
In this photo above, you can see this extra door (mini door) portion on the right hand side. The main door would normally be in the closed position. This mini door prevents the main door from fully opening. It was difficult to take a picture of it as it normally sits (in the closed position.) Imagine the full sized door in the closed position. The mini door to the right prevents the full size door from opening fully. This is done to create a tiny area in-between the two doors that is only large enough for one person to fit through at a time. If you were coming from the front room, you would open the door, it would hit the mini door, you would step to the side, close the main door, and then be able to enter the other room. This is done to prevent people from bum-rushing the back area.
Could you imagine having to deal with this during a search? We know these descriptions and pictures do not do it justice. We encourage everyone to go out and pre-plan these occupancies if you have them in your area. Spend a little extra time with the business owners explaining to them why you are interesting in looking around. We can tell you from experience, that they may be a little hesitant at first. Explain to them that you are only doing it to keep them safe.
The photo above pictures the "Doggy Door" cut. Battalion Chief Jeff Pindelski from Downers Grove (IL) Fire Department sent in this idea.. BC Pindelski is also a co-author of the Delmar publication Rapid Intervention Company Operations (RICO.) He pointed out that the hinges remain an option on the outward swinging door, but this too could be very useful method. Once the bottom section is pried open a firefighter could reach or crawl in, and manipulate any security devices on the door. The beauty of this option is that most of the locks added to the door will be located above the midline. This option should make pretty quick work of forcing most doors.
I have never tried this cut on one of the doors found in the check cashing stores, but it looks like it may be a viable option. A special thanks goes out to BC Pindelski for sending in this awesome idea! -Jimm-