Former NASA engineer deploys glitter stink bomb trap on package thieves

YouTube content creator Mark Rober put together a special device to surprise package thieves after receiving no help from the police.

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Thieves have grown exceptionally bold stealing packages right off the doorsteps of homeowners, but what happens when one draws the ire of a mechanical engineer that previously worked for NASA? Hilarious hijinks is what.

Mark Rober is said former NASA-employed engineer and he uses his skillset for unique creations, scientific experiments, and more on his YouTube channel. He learned he had a package theft problem when he saw that something allegedly delivered never actually arrived. Via his outside cameras, he spotted a couple that walked his neighborhood with backpacks and snatched up the item that was placed at his doorstep, so he devised a plan once the cops confirmed they wouldn't be able to track down the assailants.

mark rober package theft technology glitter bomb recording prank

How does this punishment for package stealers work? It's a pretty thoroughly thought out device from execution to recovery.  The punishment comes in the form of a glitter bomb that gets sprayed around wherever the thief decides to open the package. The entire fiasco is recorded via four smartphones that are connected to a circuit board that pings GPS when the package is jostled. When the package is outside of a specific area, the cameras start recording. 

One may be thinking that the incredibly annoying glitter clean-up job may be a small price to pay for four smartphones, but Rober figured that issue out as well. The phones are housed in a container that doesn't immediately reveal what they are and, as a lovely cherry on top, there's a fart spray that gets deployed five times every thirty seconds. The horrendous smell made the initial thief toss the package, which allowed Rober to deploy this decoy package and capture the reactions of multiple assailants. Even if the package wasn't ditched, Rober set up the phones to upload the footage to the cloud automatically.

This a pretty complex DIY solution for package thieves, but will hopefully inspire other victims to get creative while also deterring the thieves entirely. Tell us in Chatty what kind of hilarious punishment you'd deploy if someone grabbed a package off your own steps and stay tuned to Shacknews for other cool creations.

News Editor

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 18, 2018 11:45 AM

    Charles Singletary Jr posted a new article, Former NASA engineer deploys glitter stink bomb trap on package thieves

    • reply
      December 18, 2018 12:19 PM

      Wish this was legit. It's fake AF though.

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        December 18, 2018 12:20 PM

        [citation needed]

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        December 18, 2018 12:24 PM

        [deleted]

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        December 18, 2018 12:27 PM

        I think Mark Rober is legit.

        He has a whole bunch of YouTube videos that are well before this where engineers cool things.

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          December 18, 2018 12:29 PM

          I mean the The device is Real, The people stealing the packages. Not so much.

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            December 18, 2018 12:31 PM

            What are you basing that on?

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              December 18, 2018 12:35 PM

              he's a top notch internet sleuth

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              December 18, 2018 12:38 PM

              My top 10 video gaming journalism experiences, ok!

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              December 18, 2018 12:38 PM

              Based on How many people/Videos he got stealing his and his "friends" packages is a little to convenient for my taste. It like this one Package "Bomb" video i watched. The guy claimed multiple people we're "stealing" his packages. Then proceeded to film 10 different people coming to his front porch, that was clearly filmed all in one day. We leave in 2018, where people pretend to be Paralyzed for Subs/views, I have very little faith in Humanity at this point. I work in video, its very easily to manipulate people to seeing what you want them to see. I feel like I'm explaining to my Mother that Reality Television is not real. lol

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                December 18, 2018 12:41 PM

                Dude, package stealing is an absolute epidemic these days. If he and his friends have cameras, catching people steal packages is pretty easy.

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                December 18, 2018 12:48 PM

                "I feel like I'm explaining to my Mother that Reality Television is not real. lol"

                You're basing this off your feelings and what you have perceived in only your own experiences, and then being insulting about it. "Fuck you, too", would be my normal response here.

              • reply
                December 18, 2018 12:49 PM

                Something like 25% of americans have had a package stolen from their porch, and with the amount of online shopping, that's going up. It is a real issue. The first package I had shipped to my house was stolen, never tried again.

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                December 18, 2018 3:26 PM

                So you have no evidence?? Your neighborhood is not every neighborhood.

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                  December 18, 2018 3:38 PM

                  You don't have any evidence to prove it's legit either. We have to take him for his word. Other than some suspicious and convenient circumstances , and him using something you can easily clean up (IE not Paint or Liquid). And having a lot of Video from 1 incident, that he has to have his "friends" package stolen too, which gives him more footage.

                  No one can prove it Fake and no one can prove it's legit. Unless someone involved steps forward and admits it either way. Which like the "Prank Wars" Didn't happen for a long time until they admitted it was fake. Again...Manipulation.

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                    December 18, 2018 5:49 PM

                    How can you prove anything is real or not then? How do I know you aren't a clone account meant to manipulate all of us posting here?

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                      December 18, 2018 5:54 PM

                      You can't either way. that's the issue.

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                        December 19, 2018 3:28 AM

                        The reactions of the people stealing the packages seemed genuine. If this was fake then those people are all really good actors. Considering I have rarely seen such convincing acting anywhere else, I'm pretty sure this video is genuine.

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                    December 18, 2018 10:37 PM

                    Glitter is lots of things but "easy to clean up" is not one of them.

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                    December 18, 2018 11:19 PM

                    "not Paint or Liquid"

                    Thinking about this from an engineering pov, paint it liquid use would greatly diminish the likelihood that you might every be able to reuse the package bomb. That would be okay if single use were your goal, but considering the amount of effort involved, anyone even thinking about doing this would want to reuse the package.

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                December 18, 2018 7:32 PM

                There’s at least 3-4 ring posts in my neighborhood every day about stolen packages...

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              December 18, 2018 7:43 PM

              Mr. Sleepy said it yesterday, so it must be true.

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        December 18, 2018 12:29 PM

        Naw, dude is legit. He has no reason to lie.

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          December 18, 2018 12:31 PM

          Sure he does. Views.

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            December 18, 2018 12:38 PM

            Sure, but the device works, and it's incredibly easy to get people to steal packages from doorsteps in major cities. He has no reason to fake it. That, and nothing about these people screams 'actors' to me.

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              December 18, 2018 12:40 PM

              He has every reason to fake it. This device isn't any fun unless it blow up in shitty people faces. So he wrote out a Episode were it would do better.

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                December 18, 2018 12:41 PM

                One of the ones he recorded didn't even function properly. You're really reaching here.

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                  December 18, 2018 12:46 PM

                  Then you can Lable it as My opinion then. But in 2018, I wouldn't put it past anyone to Lie to there viewers to get noticed, get more sub or views. You have to admit this video would've have gotten nearly the amount of attention if he was just showing up the device at a friend Party. I'm just saying keep an open mind. People are shitty and will do lots of things for Money and/or exposer. that's all i'm trying to convey.

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                    December 18, 2018 12:51 PM

                    His videos get massive amounts of views, anyway. It's an incredibly popular channel already, and none of his stuff has involved faking reactions, from what I can tell.

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                    December 18, 2018 12:52 PM

                    I don't think he really needs help in the views/getting noticed department. Almost all of his videos have multiple millions of views. I've seen quite a few of his videos on trending too.

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                      December 18, 2018 12:54 PM

                      This video is Double and even Triple the views from his other videos. That's also a eye brow raiser. 11 million views, Compared to his 3-6 million average. I mean....

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                        December 18, 2018 12:58 PM

                        What? His most popular video has 99 million views lol

                        • reply
                          December 18, 2018 12:59 PM

                          This video has been up for less than 48hours.

                          • reply
                            December 18, 2018 1:18 PM

                            Guess what time of year it is.

                            People are ordering more and more from Amazon and others and they're scared their high tech expensive shit is going to get stolen.

                            Of course this is going to go viral like none of his other videos have.

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                            December 18, 2018 1:39 PM

                            man you are way too cynical bro

                            • reply
                              December 18, 2018 2:00 PM

                              lol i figured I'd blend right in with the rest of chatty. ;)

                              • reply
                                December 18, 2018 2:22 PM

                                Yeah but we all want the techie engineer to get brilliant revenge so we're reserving cynicism here :)

                                That said this is getting posted EVERYWHERE from Slashdot to Daring Fireball to CNN so if it's fake then the reveal is going to be epic.

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                          December 18, 2018 1:00 PM

                          This video has been up for less than 48hours.

                          • reply
                            December 18, 2018 3:28 PM

                            He already has enough viewers and he said in the channel that his channel is not a prank channel.

                            • reply
                              December 18, 2018 3:43 PM

                              This is like saying a Rich person would never steal cause he already has money.

                              • reply
                                December 18, 2018 5:38 PM

                                You have failed to establish any kind of motivation. As far as we know you're lying out of jealousy and your gut feeling doesn't exist.

                                • reply
                                  December 18, 2018 5:51 PM

                                  Just saying the "He already has viewers, why would he do that?" Is a dumb argument.

                          • reply
                            December 18, 2018 5:39 PM

                            I attribute the success to the fact that many if not all of us have had a package stolen from our front door and this is the closest we will ever get to revenge. Call it fake or real it doesn't matter to me, I giggled gleefully every time it went off in his video.

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                December 18, 2018 12:51 PM

                I know yesterday when this was posted people were saying "you should have it spray ink" or stuff. But what this thing did simply created a clean-able mess in the car /home/whereever it was opened, no permanent damage or the like. If it did that, he could be liable even if the persons acknowledged package theft. But no one is going to claim to be a package theft just to get back over glitter and fart smells.

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                  December 18, 2018 1:02 PM

                  Wouldn't want his friends car to be damaged. Ima right? lol

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                  December 18, 2018 11:24 PM

                  Paint or ink would also likely be destructive to the device, limiting the use to one time. Though work was put into the box that anybody reasonable would want to be able to use it more than once.

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            December 18, 2018 12:38 PM

            He's already got those.

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              December 18, 2018 12:47 PM

              No joke.. dude regularly gets 2M+ views and sometimes hits the >10M views mark. While this will be a big one for time it's nothing out of the ordinary.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 12:32 PM

        Top 10 fake pranks

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          December 18, 2018 1:07 PM

          speaking of which the whole prank wars (collegehumor) stuff was recently revealed to be fake. everything was setup between streeter and amir. im saddened knowing this

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 12:33 PM

        Yeah he helped fake the moon landings too.

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        December 18, 2018 12:36 PM

        Seems completely legit to me.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 1:09 PM

        You're a wierd one. You choose the weirdest hills to die on, and you're always super confrontational about everything.

        Who cares if it's "fake" or not? He built the machine and demonstrated how it works. You should be mad. His channel has like 660M views and 12 videos with more views than this one. even if they are ALL "fake" who cares? Dude's building stuff and it works.

        • reply
          December 18, 2018 1:15 PM

          I don't like it when people Lie, cheat or manipulate other people In any way shape and form to get ahead, or benefit from it in some way. That's a hill I'll gladly die on, honestly.

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 1:56 PM

            The plight of the parcel thieves trying to make their way in life.

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 3:24 PM

            I feel the same but you don't know if he's doing any of that. You're just going off your gut feeling.

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              December 18, 2018 3:41 PM

              I can only go off what the video tells me and the history of his channel. Things don't really add up.

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                December 18, 2018 4:53 PM

                lol. that's just how i feeeeeeeel mannnnn

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                December 18, 2018 5:39 PM

                What is the history of his channel? The devices he makes on it are legit.

              • reply
                December 18, 2018 5:50 PM

                You sound incredibly jealous.

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                  December 18, 2018 5:52 PM

                  . All i said was the video seemed fake, and then everyone lost their minds. lol

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                    December 18, 2018 10:41 PM

                    That's not all you said. You also gave shitty reasons for your assertion. Even if it is fake, your reasons should be mocked.

              • reply
                December 18, 2018 6:06 PM

                History of the channel? He makes things...?

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 4:53 PM

            do you hate comedians who tell clearly not true stories?

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 5:55 PM

            This is not the thing to be cynical about.

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 5:56 PM

            Yeah, but you're wrong here.

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            December 18, 2018 6:03 PM

            You and me both brother. Goddamn used car salesmen and peta.

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            December 18, 2018 6:09 PM

            Do you think that it's perhaps better that would-be parcel thieves now worry more about facing negative repercussions for their actions than a dude gets some views on his youtube channel under staged pretenses?

            I don't mean this as an attack, I'm just interested in hearing your line of thinking on this.

          • reply
            December 18, 2018 10:44 PM

            This is some pretty absurd levels of holier-than-thou faux nobility you're displaying.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 1:15 PM

        When click-bait-journalists get out done...

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 1:22 PM

        What?

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 1:47 PM

        Ugh. Who cares?

        • reply
          December 18, 2018 5:59 PM

          Apparently most of the chatty. lol

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 1:49 PM

        OK buddy

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 2:11 PM

        He's a mean one, Mr Grinch...

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 2:24 PM

        This subthread has a signature. Time for intraspective.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 6:11 PM

        FORMER NASA ENGINEER LIES ABOUT GLITTER BOMB HOW DEEP DOES THIS GO WAS THE MOON LANDING REAL???? IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 7:25 PM

        Yeah that was my assumption too. He is smart enough to know that setting traps for unsuspecting people leaves one in a bad position should some unintended thing happen as a result.

        For example, thief is driving along as their passenger opens the package. Glitter is thrown into the drivers eyes causing them to drive onto the sidewalk killing an innocent person.

        For example, thief opens the box in his apartment next to a candle, the fart spray ignites turning it into a flame thrower that sets the building on fire.

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 9:53 PM

        It's NOT fake. Stop being a hater and negative nancy.

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        December 19, 2018 6:09 AM

        Ok, GBurke - I'm at least going to say, I think it is a bit fishy myself.

        The average house cost in Winnetka IL is about 1 million dollars (I'm eyeballing the prices on realtor - they run from a low of 245k to a high of 3.9 million - with most in the 650 - 1.5 million range). While this doesn't negate the fact that a crime of opportunity could happen here - my experience living in an area where the median house price is 300k and I never lost a package. Whatever, anecdotal right?

        Then, I googled the crime rate for Winnetka IL and found this fun tidbit:

        Winnetka IL crime rate
        One's chance of becoming a victim of crime in Winnetka is one in 134. Compared to communities within Illinois, Winnetka's crime rate is lower than nearly 73% of the state's cities and towns. Compared to other communities of similar population size, Winnetka has a crime rate that is noticeably lower than the average.

        By comparison the crime rate where I live is 1 in 52. Again, never lost a package, and have had packages sit on my doorstep for hours at a time. Still anecdotal.

        The outfits of everyone involved appear to be similar fall attire. I'm not so crazy that I'm going to go into checking weather patterns, but it does seem to indicate that this footage was collected in a very short period of time. So I'm to believe that a package was stolen from the same two houses on multiple occasions enough times to get this footage in a place where the overall crime rate is roughly half the national average, making it a very, very low crime area?

        Also - the police were unwilling to follow up, even though they had presumably at least high definition footage of the people not only stealing the package, but opening it? No one knows the police will sometimes be picky about who they go after than me - I was put in the hospital by 3 pieces of shit from my neighborhood when I was 17 - I told the cops what house they went in and even told them one of the kid's names, and the cops still wouldn't press charges. So I know they are fickle, but turning down video evidence, in what appears to be an affluent area - where maybe you could even argue that the cops might be bored and might welcome actual police work?

        I'm making a lot of assumptions, but something seems off here to me. I don't care either way mind you - I won't die on the hill, but I wouldn't be shook if this was faked.

        • reply
          December 19, 2018 10:26 AM

          You know he lives near SF where the weather is usually around 60-70 in the summer?

          • reply
            December 19, 2018 10:30 AM

            He posted a map of the path and 8t was in IL

    • reply
      December 18, 2018 2:05 PM

      FIRST POST THAT LIKES FUN

    • reply
      December 18, 2018 8:12 PM

      The city police are in conjunction with Walmart and Amazon are deploying gps enabled decoys and cameras starting today. https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/new-apd-program-will-combat-package-thefts-in-albuquerque/5183947/?cat=500

      • reply
        December 18, 2018 8:59 PM

        The just trying to boost their YouTube views.

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          December 18, 2018 9:24 PM

          lol probably, but as the article mentioned it's estimated only 15% of package thefts are reported to police. But with Amazon and Walmart sharing their data the police now know where most of the thefts occur because people may not call the police but they'll definitely hit up Amazon for a replacement.

    • reply
      December 18, 2018 8:55 PM

      Briefcase dude, I think GBurke59's account has been taken over by a bot that randomly capitalizes words!

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