Vanishing Keys and appropriate level of concern.

Okay, I’ll try and keep this short.

I live on the ground floor in an apartment complex… a HUGE apartment complex with countless buildings and 12 apartments to each building. It’s a safe part of town, in a relatively safe town (Omaha). So yesterday, I go on one of my typical bike rides. As I usually do, I exit the back of my building and toss my keys in the grass/weeds next to my “balcony” so that I don’t have to carry them on the bike. Nobody uses the “back” of the building, as the parking lot faces the “front” – people typically only in and out of the side of the building I’m not on.

Anyway, I leave at 11:10 am, back at 12:30 pm, only the keys are not there. I’ve talked to the people in my building, and they haven’t seen anything (so they say). The lawn mowers were out yesterday, but the keys are in a spot where their large mowers can’t get to, and unless someone walked up to them and saw them lying there, the keys wouldn’t be seen.

So… wtf? The real problem is that my girlfriend has her spare key on there, and she’s got a vehicle which lights up like a space ship when you lock/unlock the car from the now lost key on my key chain. So naturally, I’m in trouble there.

Nothing has been turned in to my apt complex, so I’m wondering (a) why someone would pick up keys that were practically inches from my balcony and (b) how nervous should I be that someone who has these keys is planning to use them to commit a crime against me? I would just love to come home after a trip to find my iMac not sitting on my desk.
OH, and I do realize that I’m an idiot for leaving the keys out like that, so lets just skip acknowledgment of that.

I wouldn’t panic, but I would be changing the locks and getting your girlfriend’s alarm reprogrammed.

Chances are that its probably innocent - but you have a lot to lose and the cost of changing locks isn’t that great (even an incompetent home handyman can fit a replacement lock the same size as the existing ones)

there’s always the possibility your keys were “discovered” by kids playing. i can see a nicely jingly toy with a new home there.

but yes, new locks would be my first thought. even if it was only kids who found them, they’ve got more than enough time on their hands to go around “investigating”, seeing if the keys fit any near-by locks.

i might fear kids loose in my place more than dedicated thieves.

Why bother locking up if you leave the keys where someone can find/use them? Dude, don’t do that.

If it were me, I would assume someone had lost them. (I wouldn’t think anyone would deliberately leave their keys in the grass?!?) But, yeah, if that were the case one of the neighbors should have said so and given them to you.

Many tumbler locks can be rekeyed by DIY. The home improvement stores sell kits to do this. It’s pretty simple if you follow the directions carefully.

I’ll echo lachesis that it’s most likely kids. If I kept every set of keys my boys turned up with I’d look like the the Key Master form the Matrix.

As for the locks, rekeying is simpler and cheaper. Just unsrew them and head to your local hardware store. Ace is my prefered place for this, but any should do and you’re talking less than $5. Replacing your girlfriends key is the bigger problem. If you mean the key fob thing or one of the electric keys you’re probably looking at $30 or so, more if it’s a bimmer or mercedes.

Yeah, I don’t think you need to worry about Black Bart invading your home and violating your fridge. (On the other hand, stay vigilant.) This is an inconvenience at worst.

But find a better system for keyless biking. And by all means, keep your girlfriend’s belongings safe.

I’d be willing to bet that part of the grounds maintainence includes picking up trash and debris along with mowing. So I’d see if those guys found your keys first.

And then get one of these things.

Whether you’re allowed to rekey an apartment on your own is another question.