Updated Friday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Former NASA engineer Mark Rober went viral with a video he created showing off a glitter/stink bomb he invented to punish thieves stealing packages off of his porch. The footage from the bomb, which automatically records its surroundings when stolen, was amazing as surprised thieves found themselves covered in glitter and “fart spray.”
But now Rober is revealing that some of the footage is unintentionally fake.
In a Twitter post on Thursday, Rober explained that he had removed a minute and a half of the footage in the 11-minute-long video compilation because two of the reaction clips were faked by the people helping him test his booby trap.
He explained that he offered people money to test the booby trap on their porches after his snare caught some thieves in the act. Those paid volunteers apparently had their own friends steal the packages in order to create dramatic reaction videos — something Rober says he was not aware of until now.
“I am really sorry about this,” he apologized, taking responsibility for the volunteers’ deception. “I will take all necessary steps to make sure it won’t happen again.”
The part he took out runs from 6:26 to 7:59 on the original video, starting with him narrating, “My friend Cece also has had some packages stolen…” It includes two reaction videos. The other three reaction videos are entirely genuine, Rober says.
Watch the original video below:
Original story (now includes shortened video)
Package theft is becoming rampant. In fact, it’s becoming so common that it appears to be trendy challenge as security camera footage captures people who don’t seem to be stealing boxes of people’s porches because they’re down on out, like in the instance of this dancing package thief who drove off in a very expensive Land Rover Range Rover:
Stealing packages appears to have become a game to some people who know there’s a good chance they’ll get away with it. But one former NASA engineer is fighting back by beautifully illustrating that there can be messy consequences for porch pirates.
How? He made a glitter-throwing stink bomb disguised as a mailed package — and it’s covered in packages to capture the thieves’ expressions as they get hit full in the face.
38-year-old Mark Rober helped design the Curiosity Rover tasked with exploring Mars. according to CNBC. Now he’s a YouTube star who uses his inventiveness to make engineering look awesome.
Frustrated with getting his own boxes swiped from in front of his house, Rober spent months developing a device that looks like a box containing expensive electronics on the outside but inside contains a fan that disperses a hurricane of multi-colored glitter when the lid is pulled off.
But to insure that package pilferers dump the booby-trapped box so he can retrieve it, Rober also added a canister of “fart spray” that fires off every five seconds. The box contains a GPS tracker so Rober can see exactly where it ends up.
There’ an entertainment factor, too. Rober added four smartphones pointing in all directions to capture the exact moment when the glitter-covered thieves realize they’ve been had.
Rober explained the workings of his glitter bomb in a YouTube video and included footage of it at work as multiple thieves fell for the trap. Take a look:
The message is simple, Rober says: Don’t take other people’s stuff.
The video, which had been already viewed more than 7 million times the day after it was posted, can also serve as a deterrent for other would-be thieves who might think twice about believing that they can get off scot- (or glitter-) free.
A couple years ago, another homeowner frustrated by package thieves came up with a booby trap device for packages so effective at scaring the willies out of any potential porch pirate that police have cautioned against using it, the Seattle Times reported in 2016. Video evidence of The Blank Box device at work shows actual would-be thieves running for their lives after a loud blasting sound emits from the box. He is still selling the device on his website.
“I know it’s crude, but there’s nothing scarier than a 12-gauge,” inventor Jaireme Barrow commented.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool warned at the time that “If the would-be package thief is hurt in any way, the homeowner would be responsible.”
It’s clearly effective, though. Take a look at it in action: