"On the way to Anaheim Avenue, we lit on the subject of breaking into a house. My father's preferred method, which he had used back on Centennial, was to slide a flathead screwdriver between door and frame, then leverage the cylinder out of the lock as he twisted the doorknob with a clamp wrench. 'You're bending the insides,' he said. 'All you need is about a quarter of an inch. It's got a shaft, and the shaft is connected to the cylinder, so if you pull it back enough--'
'What did you do before that?'
'Bang it with a hammer. But that messed up the door. This is more surgical. And if it fails, you use a drill and open holes in it so you can get to it. Drill directly into the deadbolts. Those things are cheap, the deadbolts. Once you open three or four holes, it falls apart.'
'So it's pretty easy to break into a house.'
'Oh, yeah,' he said. 'We've never failed to get into a house. There is always
Out the window, I could see a subdivision frozen in an early phase of construction. A handful of bright nouveau-Victorian town houses stood lifeless, surrounded by empty plots. There was no activity whatsoever--no earth diggers, no foremen, not even a pickup truck darting across a street. Just a ghost town starting at $200 a square foot. Nearer to us, along the shoulder of the road, the power company was laying lines for future works.
'If not,' my father said, 'you take the sliding doors, lift them up off the track, and they come out.'
I didn't get it.
'Well, typically, those doors, people never adjust them, so they settle, to a point where there's enough room on top so that you can lift them higher than the track and pull them out. People use them for years without adjusting them. At the bottom, that little wheel can be adjusted up and down. Over time, it wears down. That's all you need.'"--Paul Reyes, writing in Harper's
about cleaning foreclosed houses.