Like a character in a Hitchcock movie, Dave McOmie travels the country breaking into bank vaults, cracking jewelry store safes, and decoding unbreakable codes secured deep in government facilities. He’s never been arrested or charged with a crime—because it’s his job!
Safecracker reveals a shadowy world where tumblers are twirled, skeletons are exposed, and longstanding mysteries are solved. You’ll ride shotgun with Dave for one crazy week, beginning with an impenetrable vault in Vegas with a midnight deadline, and ending with Prince’s ultra-secure music vault in the basement of Paisley Park. In between are factual stories that read like fiction: drilling the same model ATM from the notorious episode of Breaking Bad, meeting a mystery man from the Department of Defense at a remote location to crack two high-security safes, chronicling the corruption and ineptitude that dogged efforts to develop the first electronic safe lock to guard our national secrets, tackling a hundred-year-old antique bank vault in downtown Salt Lake City, and more.
What’s in all these safes and vaults? Gold and silver, drugs and cash, guns and ammo, family heirlooms and X-rated paraphernalia . . . and a few secrets that should have remained secret.
Dave McOmie is editor-at-large at The International Safecracker and a member of the Safe & Vault Technicians Hall of Fame. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Washington and resides in the Evergreen State with his wife and children.
“A mesmerizing unputdownable book from the best in the biz.” —Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award–winning author of The Lock Artist
“When we needed to consult a safecracker for one of our movies, Dave McOmie was the obvious choice. His expertise and wit were matched only by his fantastic stories: drilling the Vegas vault (like Ocean’s Eleven but real!), cracking special safes for the government, opening the late Prince’s bank vault at Paisley Park, and more. These adventures form the core of Safecracker, a fun and fascinating memoir that breaks new ground in the genre—there isn’t anything remotely like it.” —Adam Yorke, Head of Development, Wildling Pictures
“If Jobs and Wozniak had combined their DNA into one person with a passion for safes rather than computers, the result would have been (something very much like) Dave McOmie. Dave is as comfortable with abstract concepts as he is with concrete details, and his innovative safecracking classes have long been the industry gold standard. He is a living legend, and Safecracker is hands-down his best book.” —Rick Rolland, Chief Executive Officer, Rolland Safe Co., Inc.
“Ask professional safecrackers who they want in their corner on a tough safe or vault, and they’ll answer in unison: ‘Dave McOmie.’ Dave’s knowledge of his arcane craft is unrivaled, and Safecracker is your backstage pass into the shrouded, whispery world he inhabits.” —Martin Holloway, covert entry specialist and President, Hollotec
“The weight of all the drill bits Dave McOmie has used in his long and storied career would sink the Titanic. He’s a monster. He’s also the most prolific author in the field. But in Safecracker, Dave has outdone himself. You’ll root for him when the pressure is on, cheer at each victory, and cross your fingers for a sequel!” —Jeff Volosing, President, StrongArm Inc.
Advance Praise for the Author
“Dave McOmie’s books and articles line the shelves of almost every lock and safe shop in the country. Whether he's drilling a bank vault, opening a secret safe on a covert op, or teaching Burt Reynolds how to crack safes for a movie, Dave’s adventures have informed and entertained working professionals for decades. Talented wordsmiths are rare, master safecrackers even rarer. Dave is both.” —Lance Mayhew, Ada County Lock and Safe, Idaho
“There are givers and takers in this world. Dave McOmie is a giver. He has trained several generations of field technicians, and quite literally wrote the books that the rest of us rely on every day. The truth is, most of us wouldn’t be where we are without him.” —C.D. Lipscomb, Navco Safe & Lock, Texas
“Dave’s books and articles jump-started my interest in safes and vaults. Attending one of his famed Penetration Parties was like playing in a football game with Vince Lombardi coaching. Unforgettable.” —Michael Jennings, Solid Lock and Safe, Louisiana
“Other than my father, Dave McOmie was the single greatest influence on my career as a safe and vault technician. His willingness to share information and his ability to teach are unparalleled.” —Michael McElheney, McElheney Locksmiths, Ohio
“When your vault is locked, don’t go off half-cocked: Call Dave!” —Rusty Bramblett, Bramblett Locksmith, Florida
“Generous with his knowledge and intensely loyal to his industry colleagues, Dave McOmie is the go-to guy when a tough safe or vault is reluctant to reveal its secrets.” —T. A. Martin, Antique Safes, Wisconsin
“Dave McOmie’s dedication to his craft and his fellow safecrackers is matchless. There isn’t anyone quite like the master.” —Scott Clark, S.G. Clark Safe Services, New York
“Every industry has its hero and mentor. In the safe and vault world, we have Dave McOmie.” —W. Scott Maness, Blair and Sons Locksmith, Alabama
“Dave has been the single biggest influence on my career as a professional safe technician. He’s always willing to help, and I‘m eternally grateful for it.” —Walt Peterson, Floyd Security, Minnesota
“If you are in the business of opening safes and vault, Dave is the guy you want to know.” —Ernie Lay, BranchServ, North Carolina
“If it weren’t for Dave, I wouldn’t be the safecracker I am today. Virtually everyone in the trade today can say the same thing.” —James Green, Peifer Lock, Tennessee
“Dave's depth of knowledge on safes and vaults is peerless. He’s truly one of a kind.” —J. Drew Van Deventer, Alpine Safe and Lock, Florida
“Many years ago, I met Dave McOmie at a convention, but he was so low-key I didn’t know who he was. I told him safecracking was pretty simple now that some guy is writing technical books on the subject. My father later pointed out that the guy I was talking to was the author of those very books.” —Jacob Feinberg, Carl’s Locksmith Service, Massachusetts
“When you need a hand, Dave’s the man!” —Jerry Kruss, Certified Lock & Safe, California
“Dave McOmie is the authority on safes and vaults. Period. He’s also a great guy, and I’m proud to call him a friend.” —Jim Wiedman, President, Associated Locksmiths of America
“Dave McOmie’s books and classes have advanced the skills of thousands of safe and vault technicians around the globe. No other person has had a greater impact on the industry.” —Mike Potter, President, Safe and Vault Technicians Association
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 16 Jun 2021
"This is a fascinating look into the life of a professional safecracker. To be honest, before seeing this book, I had no idea there was such a profession, let alone such a significant need for it. The author's stories about some of his more notable experiences were interesting and told in an engaging way. While a non-fiction book, this book read more like a novel.
"I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject or simply learning about something outside of their own experiences."
—Linda Quick, Consumer Reviewer
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 17 Jun 2021
"This was a quick read that was written well. The author had a great sense of humor and told the stories well. While it was the technical in parts, it was all easy to understand. The stories blended well together and the author seems like a fun guy to hang out with."
—Kelly Burns, Reviewer at Montana Public Library
NetGalley Review: 3 stars
Last updated on 18 Jun 2021
"I received an advance copy of Safecracker by Dave McOmie. This is a very interesting book, about a very interesting man, with an interesting job."
—Sheila Treacy, Consumer Reviewer
Last updated on 27 Jun 2021
"Who knew there was such a thing as a safecracker? I mean I know they are in movies but..... This book was fascinating I kept interrupting my husband to read him parts. He was intrigued as well. I plan to buy a copy for my brother because I know he will enjoy it as much as I did. I know it is non-fiction but you wouldn’t think that while reading it. It reads like a novel and you want to see what’s next. Great book. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me a chance to read a book I probably would have just walked by but now I need to know more about this job!"
—Annette Herbst, Librarian at Columbia Country Rural Library
Last updated on 28 Jun 2021
"Dave McOmie has to have one of the coolest jobs. From the time as a kid with his fascination safecracker in a television series he was attracted to the profession as a safecracker which lead to apprenticeship as a lock smith and a safecracker. Can you imagine having a job getting paid to crack safe and not go to jail ? He goes on to being if not the best one of the best. He was even an editor and publisher of a magazine to pass on trade knowledge and particular jobs. This book covers various jobs he was called out on. You would not think there were so many callouts or jobs for safecrackers or technicians. This is a fast and fun read. The only downfall I see with this book is I wish there would have been a few more illustrations. Thank you to Netgalley and Rowman & Littlefield for an ARC for a fair and honest review."
—Thomas Kelley, Consumer Reviewer
NetGalley review: 4 stars
Last updated on 03 Jul 2021
"Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. This book is a look into the life of David who is a safe cracker which is a very unusual job. This book was very informative and I learned a lot about what it takes to open a safe. This book was well written."
—Laura A, Consumer Reviewer
Last updated on 07 Jul 2021
"I feel like Mission Impossible music should be playing along with the review. This book is biographical and suspenseful. This book and Dave McOmie's story are so cool! This book really has everything. I can't wait to buy it in the future."
—Meaghan Babin, reviewer at Meaghan Reads Books
NetGalley review: 5 stars
"Reading this was like watching a movie all about different heists. Even though everything was on the up and up it still felt like being able to hover over a master criminal as they were on the job."
—Morgan Schaer, Consumer Reviewer
Last updated on 11 Jul 2021
"Thank you NetGalley, Dave McOmie and Rowman & Littlefield for the digital copy of Safecracker. This is my personal review.
Ok this book made me say WOW I want to go to work with him for a day!
Dave McOmie was fascinated by seeing safecrackers in a television when he was young. This is what lead him to an apprenticeship as a locksmith and safecracker. He becomes on of the best paid in people to crack safes and do it as a job!
I was so fascinated by this book that I can not wait to buy copies for family and friends as a gift."
—Nancy Baumer, Consumer Reviewer