At this most wonderful time of year, you’d like to think that no one would be enough of a Scrooge to steal from our very doorsteps, but you would be wrong; the people known as “porch pirates” do just that.
And because some lowlifes have been known to follow delivery vans around, snatching boxes of Christmas goodies from our porches, an engineer who was himself victimized by this crime has created increasingly elaborate booby traps over the last four Christmases to get the miscreants back.
His most recent creation, made for Christmas 2021, features not only glitter that explodes three different times but lights and a car horn sound as well. Enough to ruin your whole day if you have one of these boxes tucked in your car as you cruise back home after casing a neighborhood.
Theft of boxes leads to “lifelong engineering challenge”
Perhaps best of all, engineer Mark Rober’s specially-designed booby trap boxes also contain not one, not two, not three, but four different cameras that transmit footage of them exploding after they are in the custody of the thieves.
Announcing the birth of his most recent masterpiece this week, engineer Mark Rober explains the many features of his “Fourth Generation” booby trap. “What he doesn’t realize,” he says, speaking of the perpetrator, “is that this is the fourth generation of a new and improved, custom-built bait package, recording him on four different phones, which just released a pound of the world’s finest glitter.
“And he’s about to discover the other five surprises for this year” Rober adds, before listing what porch pirates have in store if they take the wrong boxes during Christmas 2021.
“Now I now what you’re thinking,” he says to his legion of Youtube followers. “Isn’t it a little excessive to spend the last four years of your life trying to engineer the perfect revenge for porch pirates just because someone stole your package and the police wouldn’t do anything about it?” he asks rhetorically.
“I say no,” he replies, adding “and I’m going to keep doing it every Christmas until I can make a dent in the two million packages that are stolen from porches every year.
“Plus, he adds, “it’s become such a lifelong engineering challenge for me to think of all the ways in which we can upgrade.”
Rober then presents what he proudly calls “Glitterbomb 4.0,” whose top shoots off as soon as the perpetrator tries to open the box. But there have been many challenges along the way to this example of peak engineering, including a flywheel that spun at what he admits were “irresponsibly dangerous speeds;” he now uses a pneumatic system that works at 80 psi to create the explosions — complete with two small boxing gloves that lift the tops off the boxes.
Another major addition this year is a blaring car horn — because, Rober says, “I just feel that’s going to make things more exciting for everyone!”
Added to the 2021 model is also what he promises is “Twenty percent more spray” of what he calls “legitimately the worst smell you could possibly imagine” — skunk.
What’s more, “there are microphones to record continually, starting from when the package is stolen.”
Not only that, but this year’s boxes are translucent, allowing for their embedded flashing red and blue lights to shine through, causing a porch pirate to call even more attention to his vehicle — along with, of course, recorded police scanner sounds, making him feel like the authorities are closing in.
“Revenge is a dish best served… fabulously”
Rober has thought of almost everything when it comes to his Glitterbomb creations — even making welcome mats that charge the boxes with power. And fake “planters” that move at night, covering up the Glitterbomb from just before you arrive home in the late afternoon until you leave for work the next morning.
He is more than happy to share his creative genius with others. “My Christmas present to you all is this year long labor of love,” the brilliant engineer says on his Youtube account. “If you want to learn the design fundamentals it takes to make something like the Glitter Bomb, enroll in my Creative Engineering course and I’ll see you in class!”
Rober is very careful to state “My lawyers are very clear in telling me that I am not allowed to sell this. But if I did,” he shares, “(the advertising campaign) might go something like this”.
Then a sonorous male British voice declares “Glitterbomb is our most advanced Glitterbomb ever. Beautiful, complex, yet simple. The sleek, ‘porch-informed’ design,” he says, along with the “fart spray, the glitter and the car horn from a Toyota Corolla, means that your porch pirate will remember this moment for a very long time.
“Sometimes,” the announcer intones, “revenge is a dish best served…. fabulously.”