|TOUGH TO CRACK: ‘Rip’ Collins has kept things under lock and key for nearly three decades.
photography by Joshua Martin
Got something you want to hide securely from your spouse? Your boss? The IRS? Need a lockbox that you control, one that you can obtain under an assumed name, free from the inconvenient requirements that oblige U.S. banks to report the identities of safe deposit customers to the feds?
No need to travel to Switzerland. Inwood Security Vaults claims they’ve gotcha covered.
If your secrets and indiscretions can fit into boxes ranging from a discreet 3-by-5-by-24-inch box to a coffin-sized 4-by-4-by-10-foot “closet,” Inwood can find secure repose within these heavily reinforced, vaguely sepulchral walls. Use the private garage that offers internal access to the nondescript Inwood Village storefront, and no one even needs to know you were ever there.
“We are not your agent,” says Inwood owner James “Rip” Collins. “Unless you tell us, we don’t know your name, and we never have information about the contents of your box. We can’t open your box even under a court order, because these must specify a name, box number, and contents—information we don’t have.”
Collins, whose owlish glasses and confident demeanor suggest a down-home Michael Caine, has run the business since 1981. The former football player at Southern Methodist University has been joined in recent years by his daughter-in-law, Betsy Page Collins. The pair is predictably close-mouthed about customers and items stored, but Collins did confess to once having seen a Hollywood Oscar brought in.
Of course, secretive security has its price. That 3-by-5-inch box rents for an annual fee of $295, compared to $45 at Washington Mutual Bank, while a 5-inch by 10-inch box rents for $495 per year, compared to $75 at Amegy Bank of Texas.
Inwood’s “closets” accommodate those pesky larger items—like rare rugs, or objets d’art, or perhaps even a couple of cadavers. The biggest rents for $5,995 annually, no questions asked.