Toronto's Scott Gray has picked up the kind of skills that you often see used in a heist movie.

He's a certified master safecracker, an expertise that he has developed through years of working as a safe and vault technician.

Gray said his preferred strategy is beginning with the dial on the door.

"The saying that I like to say is: 'The easiest way in is the easiest way in,'" he told CBC News in a recent interview.

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Gray says that when he is cracking a safe, he prefers to start by spinning the dial a few times. (CBC)

After spinning the dial a few times, Gray said he can quickly tell "whether or not manipulation is a viable option and then I'll proceed from there."

Gray's ability to open doors that are supposed to stay shut has taken him to the top.

He's won the prestigious Harry C. Miller Manipulation Contest in three of the past five years, most recently last month.

Gray said the art of breaking into safes isn't as easy as it looks on TV or at the movies, though he said the fictional version of his trade is always entertaining to watch.

"It's always far more sexy than real life and it's in two seconds, you know, when my fastest time ever is three minutes and a bit," he said.

With a report from the CBC's Debbie Lightle-Quan