December is the busiest month for package deliveries but it’s also when so-called ‘porch pirates’ are most likely to strike.
According to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1.7 million packages are stolen or lost daily—and the numbers have only gotten worse during the pandemic.
A savvy former NASA engineer has built a trap that hits thieves with a glitterbomb disguised as a pair of pricey earbuds and noise-canceling headphones.
Not only does Mark Rober’s ‘package’ shoot off rainbow pixie dust when you lift off the lid, but it sprays out a smelly gas, flashes red and blue LED lights and plays clips from the movie Home Alone.
It’s an upgrade of his original package bomb from 2018, which Rober built after his home-security camera filmed a porch-pirate couple stealing his package.
Mark Rober has given his ‘Glitterbomb 3.0’ a major upgrade with more rainbow glitter to annoy porch pirates, plus stinky skunk essence and a SIM card that plays alarms and countdowns
When he brought the surveillance video to the police, they said it wasn’t worth their time to investigate, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
His ‘glitterbomb 3.0’ includes 15 percent more biodegradable rainbow glitter, which sprays out as soon as the box is opened.
Now, as a motor pumps out ‘fart spray’ every 30 seconds, a catch on the device prevents the lid from being put back on.
Rober previously tested the stinky spray on Home Alone star Macauley Culken.
Rober built his first package-thief deterrent in 2018 after a porch pirate stole his package.
Fine glitter shoots out of the box as soon as the top is lifted off, spraying the area
For this third effort, he upped the yuck factor with four canisters of fart spray and mixed in some skunk essence.
‘I had the personal goal this year that anyone who opened this box would at least some point comment on how bad it smelled,’ he said in December 16 YouTube video.
Rober also put super-sticky glue, the kind used on roach traps, on the handle of the device.
A SIM card inside the device allows Rober to select audio and visual effects to play, like police scanner sounds and siren lights.
The card also provides Roper with the crooks’ exact GPS location.
When the lid is removed, a spring pushes out a latch. making it virtually impossible to close
Inside the box, four smartphones record the thieves’ reaction, no matter which side they open it from.
Footage is beamed directly to the cloud so Rober doesn’t have to collect the device to retrieve it—though he says they’ve had a 100 percent recovery rate.
He also slipped an inductive charger under the welcome mat so the cameras hidden in the device wouldn’t go dead before the package was pilfered.
As in years past, the box is addressed to the Wet Bandits, Home Alone’s nefarious thieves, with a return address of Kevin McCallister, Culkin’s character in the holiday classic.
This time, the faux earbuds include fake testimonials from Kevin’s older brother, Buzz, including ‘Beat that, you little trout sniffer!’
In the YouTube video, Rober shared clips showing surprised pilferers react as glitter sprayed across their living rooms and fart spray filled the air.
The glitterbomb is disguised as a pair of Bose ‘Buzzbuds’ wireless earbuds
An unsuspecting thief is sprayed with fart gas and glitter after taking the lid off the faux ear buds
He also put a glitterbomb in the front seat of his car, where Rober claims, the device was quickly stolen.
Cameras he placed outside the auto were allegedly unable to capture the incident.
CCTV footage captures a thief stealing Rober’s device from outside a building
In the past Rober has admitted some of the reactions from when the device was taken from a house other than his own may have been faked, though he claims he was not involved in any misrepresentation.
‘I can vouch that the reactions were genuine when the package was taken from my house,’ he tweeted in December 2018, after the first glitterbomb video went viral.
A SIM card inside the glitterbomb device allows Rober to chose from several audio and video effects, upload footage directly to the cloud and track the thief’s exact GPS location
‘I was presented with information that caused me to doubt the veracity of 2 of the 5 reactions in the video,’ he added. ‘It appears (and I’ve since confirmed) in these two cases, the ”thieves” were actually acquaintances of the person helping me.’
Rober has since cut them from that first video.