You’ve received a notification that something you ordered online was delivered, but when check your front door, nothing is there.
This is a growing problem, as more consumers are shopping online. While the FBI has no nationwide statistics, about 30 per cent of Americans say they've experienced so-called porch theft, according to a survey by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service. Another recent study suggested over 11 million packages were stolen in 2017. When it happens, there's often little police can do.
Victims, as a result, cannot recoup their losses. But, as one YouTuber has shown, they can still seek vengeance. Mark Rober used his engineering and CAD design skills to make a package that sprays glitter all over anyone who picks it up and peeks inside. Using the box for a smart speaker as bait, Rober hid four phones inside that can be triggered to start recording when GPS shows it's left his porch.
After the package is opened, a glitter-spraying mechanism deploys, which is awesome, as it creates a vortex and shoots glitter absolutely everywhere. Then, to help ensure the thieves leave his device behind, Rober added an automated fart sprayer to really gross them out. It’s truly a thing of beauty. When their initial shock of the glitter tornado stops, they suddenly ask, "What’s that smell?”
Now, not all of us are engineers who’ve worked on Mars Rovers like Rober, but it’s worth dwelling on what pushed Rober to design his revenge box. When his stuff was stolen, he contacted the police, and they told him it wasn’t worth their time to investigate it, even though he had captured video (using a Ring security camera) of two people taking his cameras. This type of reaction isn’t uncommon.
Smart camera footage may not be clear enough to identify thieves or, say, their car if it's parked too far away. If you’ve experienced having a package stolen, you’re familiar with the sense of helplessness that can occur. Your best option is to try to deter the theft of any future packages. So, if you possess a particular set of skills, you too can become a nightmare for package thieves.
Go ahead. Channel your inner Liam Neeson, like Rober did, and be sure to post a YouTube video of the results, please.