Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where to Look - Keys

Some of the most telling aspects of our appearance are the elements which are common from day to day. A perfect example of one of these elements are our keys. They tell us about our daily routines, our possessions, our level of organization, and the things we don't want to be without.

For the key ring in the above example, we can make the following deductions (which I will break down below). The subject most likely:

  • has two primary modes of transportation, a Hyundai car or SUV (pretty sure Hyundai doesn't make non-commercial trucks - an exact model could be determined by visiting a local hardware store and comparing the picture against the key blanks for Hyundai cars) and a bicycle.
  • is fairly computer savvy.
  • lives in a gated community or apartment complex.
  • lost a dog (dead, missing)
  • stores his/her keys in multiple ways or regularly removes keys from the key-ring

We should all be fairly aware of how to identify car keys at a glance at this point, but just in case, here's a tip - it's the big one. From there, it's a simple matter of recognizing the insignia (which will normally appear on both sides of the key) and going from there. Next, house keys will usually (not always, especially if it is a custom key) have the triangular holes in them like the key in the top left corner of the picture. That leaves two keys (one standard, one weird), a dog-tag, and a flash-drive. The flash-drive is easy - if the subject didn't use it / know how to use it, it wouldn't be in such an easily accessible location. The weird key is for a bike lock (P.S. It would serve you well to know how to identify bike lock keys - I may create a post to this effect at a later date). The dog tag appears to be for a dog named "Sherlock" (great name), and it not being ON the dog would seem to signify that he (probably a he) no longer has need of it.

Now for the tricky one. We arrive at the final key - a standard silver 5-pin key with "ACE" (name of a hardware store) on it. This would seem to signify that the key was is a copy and was manufactured with a key machine at an ACE hardware. If the key was for a padlock, it would have the brand name of the padlock on it (ex: "Master"), so it can't be that. It can't be a mail key due to the fact that the post-office maintains and distributes the keys to lockable mail-boxes (and therefore would not use ACE to make copies). What does this leave? We know it's a copy, so a logical next question is, "Who has the original?"

  • A roommate (flatmate) perhaps? But we already have a house key.
  • A friend/relative - perhaps the subject has been given a spare for surprise visits/emergencies. While possible, the subject would need to visit quite often for that to be the case. In order for such a key to be included on the key-ring, it would have to be more important than a mail key, which is not present on the key-ring. Result - such a key would probably be on a separate (secondary) key-ring with the mail key.
  • A landlord/property manager? But what key would a landlord need OTHER THAN a house key that a tenant would need as well?
It is also possible that an extra key may mean multiple different locks on a subject's place of residence. For example, one key may be for the deadbolt, the other for the door handle itself. If that were the case here, why would a single subject have the original of one and a copy of the other?

I submit that the key is for EITHER the main gate to the complex in which the subject lives (if one exists) OR a key to a communal area, such as a shared laundry room.

If anyone has any more questions about keys/key-rings (in general or specifically), or would like to provide some information, or feel I may have missed something, feel free to leave a comment (Blogger), send me a private message (Tumblr), or drop me an email: (either).

Happy Sleuthing!


  1. Clearly a 6+ foot male - spread of keys on surface for height, male because of the lack of 'Hello Kitty' decoration. Obviously the presence of both the car key and the bike key indicate a personality in transportational conflict, perhaps a sociopath - the carabiner confirms this (another mode of transport). The ACE key belongs clearly to the room he keeps his mother locked in, she having swallowed the original in her first escape attempt. The other key was given to him by a former social worker. Sherlock would be his therapist. How long until some one calls the number...

    1. Your deductive prowess never ceases to amaze, Detective Inspector.

  2. From Phoenix Arizona

    The phone number

  3. able to use a flash drive does not mean computer savvy

    my dad can use a flashdrive but he still has trouble connecting to wifi

    1. Does your father carry the flash-drive on his key-chain? My assumption was based primarily on the level of frequency with which the drive was used, which must be comparable to the frequency of use of the keys themselves for them to be on the same ring.

  4. You're (possibly incorrectly) assuming they have a mail key. There is no reason to assume they have a lockable mailbox.

    1. To clarify, no assumption was made about the existence of a mail key, or a lockable mail box. I simply said that the silver key could not be a mail key due to the fact that IF the subject had a lockable mailbox, the key to it would not resemble the one we were examining.