WILMINGTON NC, (WECT) - Three people were arrested in Raleigh on Saturday for doing locksmith work without a required license. They operate A1A Locksmith and Security, which has branches in the Wilmington area.
Roi Gershon, Netta Eisner, and Dan Eisner are all facing charges after an investigation by the North Carolina Locksmith Licensing Board (NCLLB).
According to Gershon, he was not aware that one license for the entire business was not sufficient to cover each of the locksmiths he hired under contract.
"We didn't know that we must have a license for each one of them, and it is not ok to supervise them," said Gershon in a phone interview with WECT.
The state licensing board, however, claims it sent a letter to Gershon explaining the individual license requirement. According to Barden Culbreth, the executive director for the NCLLB, the first letter was sent by certified mail on March 4, 2008. A second letter went out four months later.
In Wilmington, the owner of A-1 Safe and Lock on Carolina Beach Road, not to be confused with A1A, encouraged customers to do their homework when it comes to hiring a locksmith.
"It is funny because you're letting somebody get into your house, and you're letting somebody have keys to your house, and you don't care," said Jan Selfe of A-1 Safe and Lock.
His son, who also runs the family business, agreed.
"There's been stories of locksmiths coming in, and every re-key they do is on the same key," said Doug Selfe. "So they have one key that fits 20, 30, 40 houses. Say he wants to go rogue, he can come back and break into any house he's done."
There are several steps consumers can take to ensure they hire a legitimate locksmith. First, check the locksmith's vehicle to make sure there's a company logo clearly visible. Next, ask the locksmith to show you his license.
In the vast majority of cases, customers don't ask, and they often pay for it.
"If you get there and it's suddenly 200 or 300 percent above what you have agreed to, I'd call the police. There's no reason for someone to come out there and take you downtown," said Doug Selfe.
Selfe also recommended checking the NCLLB web site before hiring a locksmith.