Science

Ex-NASA Engineer Creates Glitter Bomb To Trap Package Thieves

package thieves, glitter bomb
Image Source:
Mark Rober/YouTube (screenshot)

If you are fed up with packages being stolen from your front porch, then this former NASA engineer could help you. Mark Rober created a glitter bomb trap to target package thieves. It not only scares them but also teaches them a lesson.

How the glitter bomb works

Rober, whose stint at NASA includes working on the Mars Curiosity rover, was himself a victim of package theft. Although he had security cameras in place to record the robbery, police did not offer much help, saying it’s not worth their time. He then decided to take matters in his own hand.

“Something needs to be done to take a stance against dishonest punks like this,” Rober said in a YouTube video showing how the glitter bomb trap works.

He refers to his invention as his “magnum opus.”

“Revenge is a dish best served fabulously,” he said in the video.

It took Rober six months to come up with the glitter bomb trap and the fake Apple HomePod package to tempt package thieves. Rober’s trap includes a pound of fine glitter and a powerful “fart spray.” He used glitter because it is harmless, although it could irritate a thief after it spreads. He used a spinning funnel to create the glitter cloud.

The glitter bomb triggers when the box is opened. Initially, the glitter bursts out, and then it sprays five more times, or every 30 seconds. In addition to the glitter bomb, Rober also tried to make it possible for the package thieves to be caught. To do this, he included four Android phones in the box to record the thieves’ reactions and a GPS tracker to track the location of the package.

If somehow the package is not recovered, the video will automatically be uploaded to the cloud. Rober even referenced the film Home Alone on the package’s shipping label, but the thieves who stole it didn’t notice.

Here’s how alleged package thieves reacted

Rober’s 11-minute YouTube video entitled “Package Thief vs. Glitter Bomb Trap” was the top trending video on Tuesday. In the video, Rober first explains why he had to come up with such a trap and then describes how he created the glitter bomb. The last few minutes shows the reaction of actual thieves who dared to open Rober’s trap.

In the YouTube video, some alleged package thieves are seen opening the box in their car, and glitter bursts out of every corner. Others opened the package in their houses. One was even filmed cleaning up the mess using a vacuum cleaner.

In the video, one alleged thief is heard saying, “What the **** is that smell?”

The alleged accomplice replies, “Get that **** out of here, bro. You shouldn’t have even grabbed that.”

Other traps to scare package thieves

Rober’s trap is not the first technology used to deter package thieves. Others have used recorded shotgun sounds to scare off potential robbers or shared photos or videos of package thieves on social media. In 2013 one Texas man even set up an email address where people could send anonymous tips about the thief who his Amazon package.

With the growing trend of shopping online, instances of package theft are also growing in the U.S. According to a Comcast Xfinity Home survey last year, 30% of Americans have been victims of package theft, and more than 50% know someone whose package was stolen.

In a recent study, Shorr Packaging analyzed the cities with the highest and lowest concentrations of package theft. The firm used Google Trends data and U.S. census estimates. The data showed San Francisco has the highest concentration of package thefts.

Although Rober’s glitter bomb trap is an inventive and fun way to discourage package thieves, it may not be feasible for everyone. There are several less expensive and more convenient ways to ensure you get your package. For example, you can install security cameras and sign up for delivery alerts. You can also use Amazon Key, which combines a smart lock with a security camera to enable delivery people to put packages inside the home.