Can a locksmith help solve a 110-year-old jewel heist? Travel Channel’s tv series, Legend Hunter, sought the answer while trying to discover the fate of the Irish Crown Jewels; stolen from a safe within the walls of Dublin Castle on July 6, 1907.

England’s King George gifted the Crown Jewels, worth $20 million today, to the Order of St. Patrick in 1830.  The badge and star were encrusted with more than 400 diamonds, shamrocks made of emeralds, 24 karat gold, rubies and sapphires.

Sir Arthur Vickers, appointed as Ulster of Arms, in 1903 was tasked with keeping the valuable jewels safe in his custody.  Apparently, security and safe guarding were not among Vickers’ talents.  Ordering a strong room built in the castle, to protect and store the safe containing the jewels, seemed like a great idea.  If only someone had measured the safe before building the doorway.  Turns out the door wasn’t wide enough for the safe to be brought through.  Vickers ended up sticking the safe in a library without guards to keep a watchful eye.  The Ratner safe was made by one of the top safe manufacturers in England with an iron door containing a seven-lever locking system.  Each lever, stacked on top of each other, aligned with a notch in a key.  Once all the notches lined up, the locking mechanism would lift and the door could open.  Perhaps, Vickers believed that since there were only two keys to the safe and he kept one on his person at all times, there was no threat of theft.  That is, until the morning of July 6, 1907.  With door hanging open, the safe sat empty.  The jewels were missing.

At first, Vickers wasn’t worried.  Rumors swirled that he was fond of drinking, throwing lavish parties and associating with people of questionable character.  It’s been said that during one of these parties, after Vickers had passed out, a friend was able to lift the key to the safe.  The next morning Vickers was wearing the jewels when he awoke.  In time, Vickers had to admit that the jewels were stolen.   A handful of suspects, including Vickers, emerged.  No one was ever charged with the crime and the stolen gems have never been found.

The Dublin Metro Police had always claimed that the lock had not been picked and therefor must have been an inside job.  But, was this even true?  An expert locksmith was brought in to examine the Ratner safe.  Should scratches be found on any of the levers that would be proof that the detectives had it wrong over a hundred years ago.  The locksmith took the device apart and meticulously examined each lever.  Finding only normal wear and tear on the levers the locksmith was able to confirm one theory.  The thief had used a key to gain access to the safe.  Surprisingly, the locksmith was able to discover new evidence that perhaps the detectives didn’t believe there were only two keys.  With the safe in police custody levers one and three had been switched.  Flipping these levers with each other meant that the original keys, or copies if any existed, could ever be used on the safe again.   The treasure hunt continues.