Stolen master key prompts security upgrades for Austin buildings, fire and EMS units

An Austin man is accused of using a master key to lock-boxes to break into at least two medical facilities.

AUSTIN - Thousands of Austin buildings -- including high-rises and retail stores -- are expected to receive security upgrades after a man somehow got his hands on a master key to their lock boxes and broke into at least two medical facilities.

The lock boxes are attached to the outside of buildings that have fire protection systems. They allow fire and medical crews to enter after hours if there's an emergency without causing damage. Anthony Kavanaugh, 28, is accused of using a master key and breaking into Dell Children's Medical Center in September and taking more than $30,000 from cashiers. Manor police said he also broke into the Fast Med Urgent Care and tried to get into the pharmacy on Nov. 13, 2017. He was arrested on Nov. 20 and remains in the Travis County jail. 

But the Austin Fire Department will not say how Kavanaugh obtained a master key, referring all questions to the Manor Police Department. A spokesman with the Manor PD said he doesn't know and wouldn't know unless the Austin Fire Department notified them about it.

Now, 6,000 Austin buildings are getting that security upgrade. Despite what happened, the fire department said the current security system is secure.

"Thirty-four years is a great track record and as we're moving forward, the opportunity to with newer technologies to help us enhance that system even further," said AFD Chief Rob Vires.

The City of Austin also plans to replace the lock boxes -- called Knox boxes because of the vendor name -- inside fire and EMS vehicles.

The total cost is $1.8 million. Here's the memo Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano released about this incident on Tuesday:

Memo to Austin mayor and council after man allegedly uses master key to break into buildings by kvuenews on Scribd

 

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