Thieves breaking into Seattle condo, apartment buildings through call boxes

SEATTLE — This week, people from several condo and apartment buildings near downtown Seattle reported break-ins.  And a common theme was thieves getting into the buildings by breaking into the call box.

KIRO 7 found a simple fix to one repeated method.

“We were getting hit probably every night for three weeks straight,” Adam Su said of his Capitol Hill condo building. “It was tremendously frustrating seeing our entry system gaining entry but not knowing who.”

Su responded to a post on the Nextdoor App about a call box break-in that happened Monday night in South Lake Union.  He explained how he thwarted thieves.

“The fix basically takes as little time as it does for someone to break in,” Su told KIRO 7.

The common links in the break-ins at Su’s building and several others were a call box entry system made by Doorking and a postal switch on the call box.

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Su called DoorKing and they told him the problem was 100 percent that their postal switch was activated even though they didn't use it.

On KIRO7 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday we'll show how quickly and easily thieves use it to get in.  

The system shows access was granted, but it’s not tied to a name.  So there’s no sign of foul play.

The solution is to de-activate the postal switch through the DoorKing software for your building.  Your condo or apartment manager would have access.  Su does for his building.

To disable it, click on “system information” and it brings up the screen.  In the center of the screen you can undo the “postal switch” option.  Just uncheck that box and re-upload that data.  And now, thieves can't break in through the postal switch on the call box.  That’s exactly what Su did.

“The break-ins stopped immediately after that,” he said.

There are other ways for postal carriers to get into your building as needed.

“We set up an entry for him where he has an entry card for our building,” Su said.  “That way it's tied to postal.  We know exactly who comes in at what time. It's tracked in our software.”