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Locksmith says home in triple murder could have been accessed in minutes

January 19, 2017 - 1:35 PM

CALGARY - An intruder could have broken into the home where a Calgary couple and their five-year-old grandson disappeared in a matter of minutes, a lock expert testified Thursday.

"Obviously it's dependant on the skill of the individual, but it is a-minute-to-five-minute job," said Monte Salway, a master locksmith who works for Schlage in the U.S., and is familiar with the lock on the home of Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

"Drilling into that particular material — it does not provide that much resistance around a high speed drill bit and in your typical battery powered handheld drill," he testified at the Douglas Garland murder trial.

Garland, 56, is on trial on three counts of first-degree murder after the couple and five-year-old Nathan vanished from the couple's Calgary home. Their bodies have not been recovered.

The Crown said it was the result of a long-standing, petty grudge, over a patent on a pump for the oil and gas industry.

When Jennifer O'Brien arrived at her parent's home on June 30, 2014, to pick up her son Nathan who was there for a sleepover, she found the side door open.

That particular Schlage lock can be opened with a regular key or a 10 digit keypad. Salway, who examined the lock removed from the Liknes house, said it hasn't had many changes made to it since it was introduced between 2008 and 2010.

The lock he examined had two small holes drilled in it. Salway said one of the holes exposed the pins inside the cylinder and wasn't something a locksmith would use because it was destructive.

The second hole looked more familiar.

"The second hole is probably the one you would see more prevalently in the locksmith industry," Salway said.

Salway said it's possible the door could have been opened through either of the two holes.

During her opening statement Monday, Crown prosecutor Vicki Faulkner alleged that Garland researched how to break into the Liknes home.

"On June 13, just 17 days before the Likneses and Nathan disappeared, he started to research a specific lock, the Schlage BE365. The same lock on the Linkes' side door, that was found open the morning of June 30," she said.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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