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Cracking Effort by Canadian Code Cracker

A Canadian bus driver who cracks codes for a hobby is being “celebrated” after rising to an online challenge to unlock a “mysterious old safe”, said CTV News Winnipeg.

The safe at Red Emma's bookstore in Baltimore
Credit: Rick Ammazzini

Red Emma’s Bookstore in Baltimore, Maryland, inherited the strongbox, “believed to be at least 75 years old”, after taking over the shop space last year. And after failing to open the safe, the store owners invited followers on social media “to come down and try”, the news network reported.

After hearing about the challenge “through an online group of fellow safe-cracking enthusiasts”, Winnipeg-based driver by the brilliantly appropriate name of Rick Ammazzini told the group that “if you guys pay for it, I’ll go do it”. Within four days he had crowdfunded $1,300 to pay for his flight south to the US.

After two days and a total of 15 hours spent trying to crack the code, he managed to get into the safe - which contained paper clips, a paystub and some empty wooden drawers.

Despite that disappointing bounty, Ammazzini reportedly “said it was still a great experience”, and is now offering his services out to anyone else with a lock to master. “I’m not going to promise I’m going to get it open,” he said, “but I can come and try.”


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