TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari to create penalties for using a “bump key” – a locksmith’s tool – to commit a burglary.
“By and large, ‘bump keys’ are used by locksmiths to open broken doors and to aid homeowners who have simply forgotten or misplaced a house key,” said Scutari, D-Linden. “Unfortunately, because these keys can open just about any lock, when put into the wrong hands, they can spell disaster for the security of homeowners and their possessions. This bill sends a clear message to would-be thieves that the use of these tools for unlawful purposes will not be tolerated.”
Scutari’s bill, S-189, would reclassify the manufacturing or possession of a “bump key” with intent to commit a crime as a fourth degree offense, which carries penalties of up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Under current law, the manufacturing and or theft using a ‘bump key’ is classified as a disorderly persons offense, which only carries a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in prison.
Scutari went on to note that the manufacture or use of “bump keys” is illegal only when paired with intent to commit a crime. Locksmiths working on a job would not be in danger of penalty under this legislation.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
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