It remains unclear whether the keys are simply 'lost' or have been stolen with malicious intent.
The set of keys belongs to the prison chaplains. It went missing last Thursday. A clearly concerned prison worker told VRT News that whoever gets hold of the keys will have free rein in the penitentiary.
The keys won't open the Great Door of Leuven Gaol, but the set does include two passkeys. As a precaution the locks of all the doors of all twenty prison sections affected are being replaced.
Prison director Paul Dauwe hopes that the set of keys will soon be recovered. Otherwise the prison authorities will have no alternative but to change the locks on all 180 cells that can be opened.
How the set of keys could go missing and in whose care the keys were has not been divulged. One staff member told the VRT that there is no 'direct check' on the cabinet containing prison keys.