If you’ve ever had a delivery stolen from the front of your house then you understand the desire for revenge.
That’s exactly the situation YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober found himself in when a package was swiped from outside of his home. But despite his security cameras catching the thief red-handed, he was told by police that the crime wasn’t worth their time to investigate.
So Rober took matters into his own hands, engineering a package that would shower a future thief with glitter when they opened the package. But while this could have been accomplished with a couple of loaded springs, Rober wanted to be able to film the entire incident as it unfolded. The result is an over-engineered bait package that took six months to develop, and used motion sensors, a GPS tracker, and the combined wide-angle cameras of four mobile phones. It even used fart spray to ensure the thief would throw it away, so that Rober could recover and reuse it.
Like his other work, which includes giant Super Soakers, self-tracking dart-boards, and techie halloween costumes, Rober’s latest invention is meant primarily as a bit of lighthearted fun. Unfortunately, so-called “porch pirates” have turned into enough of a problem that police have started targeting them in sting operations. Although various solutions such as Amazon Key, have been proposed, the problem is unlikely to go away anytime soon.