A universal plastic handcuff key that could set criminals free is currently on sale at Amazon.com.
The Covert Hide Out Handcuff Key sells for only $10.50 and can be attached inconspicuously to a jacket zipper. The Amazon description promises the key will “be there for you when you need it most.”
The key is mostly alarming because it can pass metal detector tests and allow prisoners to escape while in custody, in court or during transport.
“I don’t know how Amazon goes about selling this,” said Al Nasseri, the manager Uniform Warehouse, a distributor of law enforcement equipment. “We have everything documented and only deal with police or security.”
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Nasseri said he had never heard of such a key.
NYPD officers were encouraged to be more cautious on May 23 after an internal memo was issued on the matter.
However, the real threat posed by key is questionable. Reviews on Amazon called it a joke and reported that it would often bend.
Efforts to reach the key manufacturer were unsuccessful. The domain name “ASR Tactical”, under which the key is sold, led to a 37-year-old California man who had abandoned the domain several years ago. He was shocked to hear the key was being sold under that name.
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“I don’t manufacture anything,” he said, “I don’t sell anything,”
According to the NYPD, officers have yet to recover a sample of the key.