Humble Phone Cameras Used to Capture Glitter Bombs Going Off in Thieves' Faces

Here on Fstoppers, smartphones sometimes get a bad rap as cameras. However, when used to capture the after effects of a glitter/fart bomb package launched on unsuspecting gift thieves, these devices provide a clear advantage.

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober was tired of thieves stealing packages off his front porch. After he tried to report the incidents to police, he pretty much got nowhere. They thought the crime too small to investigate. This is where Rober’s engineering chops come into play.

Rober created a trap for thieves using an Apple HomePod box that contained anything but. He created and programmed a device to launch glitter at those who purloined the box, and then for added effect, launched a fart spray attack. That would have been enough, but he wanted to see the results. That’s where the phone cameras come in.

He correctly pointed out that something such as the Canon Powershot in his hand wouldn’t have worked for this application. There’s no GPS, no way to tell where the camera was after this incident. The lenses might not have also been wide enough. Charging would be an issue.

Instead, Rober rigs up four of what appear to be LG smartphones that record the thief through little windows he cut out on the package, and then, once the cover is opened, sees all angles of the attack and subsequent outrage from the victims.

From a photographic perspective, it’s amazing one of the most viral videos of the year came not from images made with a big camera manufacturer or even one of the newer 360 camera makers. It’s primarily based on security camera footage and a cheap Android-based phone.

If anything, it shows how far camera manufacturers have to go to add connectivity and more options to their cameras. In short, make their cameras more like phones that people can more easily repurpose into amazing gags such as this one.

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Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

That was Great!!! Loved it!! Serves thieves right! But get this you could be prosecuted if your device causes harm to the thief. At least in TX. Watch the following video about his Glitter bomb and a prosecutor;s take on it. I guess the thief has more rights than you do.

thomas Palmer's picture

I can't understand USA, in other contries, the delivery guy takes the package back and comes back the day after ..

michaeljin's picture

In the USA, people tend to complain when delivery people do that because what ends up happening is they keep trying to deliver the package while you're at work and after a few tries, it either just gets shipped back to the sender or you have to take time out of your day to drive to whatever post office or pick-up location during their open hours (which also will probably be your working hours) yourself and wait in line to pick it up, which sort of defeats the whole thing about ordering something delivered to your home in the first place.

Spy Black's picture

...which is the dumbest mindset, but that's America for you. I'd rather have them take it back and hold it for me any day. This is especially so if the item ordered is unique and un-replaceable. However I think the real reason is that the delivery services don't want to babysit your package, especially this new wave of Amazon delivery guys who are just independent contractors, not unlike Uber drivers. They couldn't care less. In my apartment building, a lot of them just leave the packages in the outside vestibule where anyone can nab it who passes by and happens to see it. I guess they may be paid by the number of daily deliveries they can make, so they don't care because they know Amazon will replace the package if it's stolen.

michaeljin's picture

I've yet to have anything stolen from my doorstep, but if it's particularly important, I'll usually have it delivered to me at work.

I'll admit that I'd rather have them leave it at my doorstep than take it back because I really don't have time to go to the post office or UPS center. Even if something was stolen, it's pretty likely that a replacement will arrive sooner than I'll be able to find time to take off work to go pick up a package anyway.

All hail Amaxon Prime.

Simon Patterson's picture

So Amazon will just keep on shipping replacements until someone happens to pick up their own parcel from their doorstep before the thieves do? Sounds like "parcel thief" is a feasible vocation if that's how the system works!

michaeljin's picture

Well it's a pretty rare thing so I'm sure that if you request for a replacement too often, you get flagged and an investigation happens.

Spy Black's picture

"Well it's a pretty rare thing..."

Rare thing? LOL! This guy didn't make a glitter bomb for nothing. The super in my building set up video cameras by the mailboxes where most packages are dropped off, and were occasionally still stolen. I don't know how effective the cameras have been, but I suspect they've helped.

The sucky thing is that fed ex will charge you to hold your package and then fed ex want's your drivers license AND a utility bill, car papers or any other legal document in order for you to get your package. Like a state issued drivers license isn't enough to prove who you are??? Also another stupid thing with fed ex. is that you can't have your package held for pick up if the shipper doesn't allow it. Why would the shipper need to have any say in whether i pick it up from fed ex or have it delivered? BUT if you work, the driver will keep attempting to deliver and then send it back after three failed attempts which WILL happen because the shipper won't let you have it held for pick up! then that next day shipping you paid for is moot and fed ex will not refund it. Also if THEY lose your package they will not reimburse you OR give you your shipping fee back. They will say it's your fault for not buying insurance which is complete baloney since almost every vendor does not have an option to add insurance to your shipping method. moral of the story. don't use fed ex. UPS and usps are okay. They all suck in their own way but fed ex takes the cake.

Spy Black's picture

I've never had that issue with Fedex. If I'm not home for a delivery I can go online and have them hold it for me to pick up if I know I won't be home for any of the delivery attempts. I then go to the pickup location with my slip and pick up my package. I don't remember whether they asked for ID or not. This is in New Jersey, local or state laws may be different elsewhere.

Wow! lucky? You may be right about your suggestion of it being regional. I get asked for 2 forms of id every time and charged for pick up :(

Deleted Account's picture

It also depends on the value. Most merchants will insist on a signature for expensive items. Also, at least some sites will allow you to request a signature.

David Pavlich's picture

If there is something of any value, shippers offer the 'signature required' option and as already mentioned, some retailers will only ship certain items 'signature required'. Not 100% foolproof, but a good way to ensure your package isn't stolen.

Canada Post will attempt one delivery. If it is 'signature required', it is taken back to the closest post office and a note is left telling you where you can pick it up.

The guy created the 'bomb' out of frustration. He had the video of the thief, but the police said it wasn't worth their time to track the perp. So, he found his solution. Seems odd that the police can't find time to catch the perp, yet they have the time to prosecute someone that's trying to stop the perps. Somehow, this doesn't surprise me in the year 2018.

This video is a fake robbery - he recruited friends and friends of friends to be the robbers. Probably a good thing because he would have been in serious trouble if someone was injured by his device. Know the law; because ignorance is not an excuse.

Reggie Hughey's picture

I’d give 4 fingers and my favorite body part to have the skill set to exact revenge so beautifully!