Peanut butter can open locks


The standard way to open a lock is with the key and after that lock picks. However, when attacking locks, you should look at alternate methods. Lock picking in many ways can be a thinking game and below is an example of a lock that was opened in unique way. Take this as encouragement to experiment a bit but not to escape from prison. 

This extreme case of opening a lock via an alternative method happened in the Walker County Jail on Sunday July 30th, 2017. Walker is a relatively small jail close to Birmingham, Alabama that houses around 250 inmates.

On this day, a relatively new guard was on duty in the jail’s control room. Generally, these control rooms will be a secure room that has a view over a certain area of facility. It will have camera feeds, windows and also the ability to open and close doors remotely. This remote opening of doors allows for guards to be in a more secure location as they oversee the movement of inmates. 

On this particular day one inmate was yelling at this new guard to be let back into their cell. On their cell door is a number. In the control room, the guard has the ability to see that number either by camera or through a window and they can then remotely unlock that door, allowing the prisoner to gain access to their cell. 

We have all heard that prisoners tend to have a lot of time on their hands and with that free time they come up with some ingenious ideas. In this situation they became artists and altered the number on the door cell with peanut butter. When they then hollered at the guard for the door to be opened the number they saw on the door was actually for a door that led outside. 

When the guard hit the button unlocking that door 12 prisoners ran outside and escaped by climbing the outer fence. To overcome the razor wire on the fence they covered it with blankets and their orange jumpsuits. They had successfully escaped from jail by opening a lock with peanut butter. Within 10 hours a manhunt had captured 11 of the inmates who fled on foot and some by car. The final escapee made it much further and was apprehended 48 hours later in Tequesta, Florida. 




A few things in this story we are not sure about

1.We can't find any details on the door numbers that were involved and have conflicting reports on whether the numbers were altered or concealed. Did they make a 33 into a 38 or did door 432 became 32? It matters a bit but does not change the story. 

2. Did they alter the color of the peanut butter? Were the numbers painted brown? Was this viewed on a black and white monitor so that the color did not matter? It is known that the communication was through video.

3. Was it really only just one door from the prison population to outside and then just one fence to go over?

4. Was this a two-team operation? Did team one alter the number so that team two could escape from a separate area? Perhaps the door that opened to the outside was far away in a different area that team one would not have been able to get to. So, was team one’s roll to aid team two's escape?



With a bit of digging, you can find that the Sheriff is complaining that Walker County Jail was in need of repair. So perhaps the inmates did need to go through multiple doors but only one was a problem to unlock.

"In 2014, Sheriff John Mark Tirey urged commissioners to put funding toward making repairs to the jail, especially after faulty cell doors led to the assault of two officers. Many of the cell doors, he said, had locks that were easy to pick or ones that didn’t lock at all."

A search of photos also reveals that indeed this jail seems to only have one perimeter fence and no leg breaker rocks to disrupt a jump from the top of the fence. You often see these rocks in a "no man's land" section between two outer perimeter fences. Their purpose is to sprain ankles and create a host of other injuries if someone were to drop down onto this VERY uneven surface.

If anyone happens to know some of these fine details, we would like to add them to the story.






Shop now

You can use this element to add a quote, content...