Former NASA Engineer Sabotages Thieves With Glitter Bomb After Police Refuse To Help [Updated]

A YouTube video has gone viral, showing a former NASA engineer, Mark Rober, who got tired of constantly have delivered boxes stolen from this front door in California. His glitter bomb device is worth watching below but what really drew me to the story was the reason. Like millions of people, we are having holiday gifts delivered and worry about the rising theft rate of such deliveries. If you are wondering why, this story give ample explanation. When Rober called police, they told him that they could not be bothered with such thefts. It is maddening. It seems that we get less and less for our taxes. Police protection is the most basic public function covered by taxes and yet the police simply treat this rising crime trend as none of their business. [Update: In a weird twist, Rober says that he has learned that a couple reactions from the alleged thieves may have been staged without his knowledge by associates. He has removed those scenes.]

Rober explains the history in a YouTube video posted Monday. He decided to create his “revenge bait” disguised as an Apple HomePod Box, which would also be GPS-enabled. He rigged it to record the theft with cellphones and his success is quite impressive. The culprits were hit by a glitter bomb and then a fart bomb. It was interesting that all of the faces of the thieves were blocked despite their felonious conduct.

44 thoughts on “Former NASA Engineer Sabotages Thieves With Glitter Bomb After Police Refuse To Help [Updated]”

  1. Love it. Kinda wish he’d used slime instead of glitter. Kinda a metaphorical statement, and, messier to clean up.

    I wonder if he’d sell those boxes. I’d buy one.

    1. Prairie Rose – we do have “porch bandits” here but most people have cameras so at least we have them on camera for the police. However, this could be a side project for this guy and he could sell them on Amazon. 😉

  2. two possible problems with this solution…
    1. depending on what actually happens, the glitter bomb could be considered assault.
    2. You’ve pissed off a criminal who knows where you live

  3. Years ago, during a garbage strike in New York City, some people gift wrapped their garbage and left it in their unlocked cars. Problem solved.

  4. What police, courts, and penal systems can do is to advance public order through deterrence, punishment, and incapacitation. That means beat cops flagging people for public order offenses and arresting people caught in flight. Job 1 is reducing the frequency of those crimes which induce people to stay locked in their homes, such as robbery. For detectives, the priority has to be locating and arranging for the punishment of the worst offenders: those guilty of murder, rape, and aggravated assault, as well as serial practitioners of burglary and car theft. Petty larceny, while disgusting, had got to take a back seat to more consequential tasks.

      1. sorry i meant to say every kind of sexual filth is legal so long as it’s porn due to first amendment freedoms.

        a good article describes the law. a preposterous situation but one that finds no democratic will to change because of the perplexing and persistent puritannical facade Americans project even as they are ever more promiscuous and obsessed with porn. a negative trend of social atomization and hypocrisy and so utterly wasteful, that is so bad that legalized brothels would be an improvement.

  5. With this sort of crime, there isn’t much the police can do which is worth the effort other than to fill out a report you can use as supporting documentation for an insurance claim. The one qualification to this is that police do need to be particular about petty public order offenses, because tolerance of those tends to build a public atmosphere which fertilizes truly serious crime. So, the police need to be severe with people caught red handed and with serial offenders caught on security cameras.

    1. you might like china i hear they are good at punishing jaywalkers caught on the omnipresent surveillance cams.

      of course certain crimes in china are perfectly ignored in practice like bribery and corruption. but there’s a lot less outright theft and violence that’s for sure.

      i think i will stay here for now

      1. Security cameras are installed in commercial enterprises as a matter of course, especially convenience stores.

    2. Baloney. Police can deter this kind of crime with honey traps. They need prosecutors who’ll back them up. And lawmakers who understand that a criminal develops over time by getting away with ever more opportunistic and lucrative acts. In an orderly society correction is applied early and firmly to interrupt and stop this development cycle. Letting criminals get away with “small stuff” shows ignorance of human nature, and/or indifference about the future.

  6. We’re not suffering rising crime. The rate of burglary is no higher than it was in 1960. The rates of homicide and auto theft are no higher than they were in 1963. The rate of robbery is no higher than it was in 1967. Rape and aggravated assault are a great deal more common than they were 50 years ago, but 1/3 less common than they were in 1990.

    He just lives in an area where petty larceny doesn’t interest law enforcement.

    1. The incidence of smash and grab car break-ins rose dramatically after cell phones appeared. You write from the perspective of someone who likely hasn’t been victimized by crime, because the most important statistic is when you, your family, your home, or your property is attacked. Could you try to adopt their perspective?

      1. You’re a loudmouth with poor reading comprehension. My views on this subject are plain to anyone who bothers two read what I wrote, which you did not.

        My personal biography is a matter of no interest here.

        (If anyone’s interested, I’ve spent 1/3 of my life in core city neighborhoods, including years in Baltimore and years in a section of Rochester to which Dominos refused to deliver. I’ve been mugged twice, my sister was carjacked once, and my mother’s home was burgled 3x).



    In my previous life, I was a Store Detective for high-fashion retailers. In that capacity I came to specialize in Fraud Investigations. This column reminds me of a fraud case I worked on. It concerned a foreign national who had opened a fraudulent account with our store. He had run up a balance of more than $2,500 when I first noticed him.

    Unfortunately said fraud departed the before we had sufficient information to make an arrest. Still I spent several investigative hours compiling a dossier. Then, because the suspect was a foreign national, it seemed the FBI should be informed. So I called the FBI to tell them about our suspect.

    The FBI Agent I made contact with sounded like the droll detective of a TV sitcom. The kind who speaks from the side of his mouth. I told him we had good information on a fraud who had taken us for $2,500. This was 30 years ago, so $2,500 was bigger money then.

    “Yeah, well get back to us when y’gotta fraud for over twenty grand”. The FBI Agent actually said this with near-comedic timing!

    But that call made me realize frauds were even more common than ‘I’ ever guessed. The local FBI was obviously overwhelmed by them. That FBI Agent probably felt that store’s like mine made it too easy for frauds to open accounts. Which was partly true. It was ‘our’ responsibility to prevent those frauds from getting credit cards.

    That brings us to homeowners who expect packages on their porches to remain unmolested during hours of exposure to any passerby. That’s an unrealistic expectation in any metro region of more than a million people. It is ‘your’ responsibility, as a homeowner, to see that packages can be placed in a secure depository.

    My idea would be a strong box of wood or steel about 5 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter. It should have a steel, weighted door that allows for large deposits but prevents thieves from reaching in. The homeowner can access by unlocking a tamper proof door in back. These boxes should be standard fixtures near the front doors of every home.

    Said boxes could be made of stone with decorative planters on top. Shiny stainless steel boxes might go with modernistic homes. Or boxes could come in a number of fine wood tones to match front doors, perhaps.

    In any event, it the responsibility of homeowners to resolve this issue. Police can’t be expected to investigate every theft.

    1. I should think that just out-of-sight suffices.

      Some houses have package delivery drawers or small doors. Package goes in and falls to the floor.

      1. Oky1, I can only guess you live in Oklahoma; a decidedly ‘less’ glamorous state than California. One rarely hears Angelinos say, “My dream is moving to OK City”.

        1. Until about 1990, people who lived in other states often migrated to CA. That is no longer true. People born in CA are leaving it and moving to other states in record numbers. At the same time the number of CA residents who are foreign born is now 28% of the population (as of 2014). The percentage of CA’s population that is foreign born has never been as high as it is now any time in the last century.

          About 4% of Oklahoma’s residents, or 161,700 people, were born in CA.

          So when you say one rarely hears Angelinos say, “My Dream is moving to OK City”, you may not be listening to the right people.

          1. Scott, conservatives have latched onto this narrative that everyone is leaving California, or ‘wants’ to leave California. But it’s going to be a long, long time before housing costs come down in L.A. or S.F.

    2. Peter, that’s a funny story and I had a similar experience early as a lawyer with a client who lost $25, 000 of merchandise in a wire and mail fraud scam. Which bored the FBI to tears and they said don’t bother having your client come make a complaint we’re too busy. in so many words.

      basically they work on what they want to work on and let the local cops actually fight crime. the FBI is above that. oh and that’s the attitude going back for many decades. not just the current crop of hot shots.

      sometimes i get the impression 75% of what they work on is dope crime and the other 25% is like supposedly chasing russian spies and white collar crime occasionally just to remind us they actually are doing that once in a while

      serious investment fraud? ha ha forget about it. steal $20 in robbery of 7/11 you are rolling the dice on a ten year sentence but steal $200,000 it’s a big yawn. I think these days they need around a million now to even bother opening an investigation and that’s going to be cursory one at that.

      you know what they call them– “Famous But Incompetent”

      1. basically they work on what they want to work on and let the local cops actually fight crime.

        It’s the federal police, Kurtz. Of course that’s what they do. They’re not properly responsible for aught but crimes on federal property, crimes which occur across state lines or are committed by multi-state conspiracies, national security offenses, &c. As for technical assistance to local law enforcement, just what do we have state police for?

        If they blew off a complaint about interstate mail and wire fraud, that’s bad.

        1. yes i know thank you for describing their limited jurisdiction and my point is yes they blow off wire and mail fraud for serious investigation. the smallest ones i have seen recently have been over a million. under that amount and it’s a big yawn from them

          mostly they are chasing dope dealers around still. it’s regrettable they waste so much energy on that and so little on things that pretty much only they are in a good place to investigate.

          securities fraud is another thing. the SEC does not do squat besides civil. they have no criminal powers that is striclty DOJ and DOJ prosecutes investigations done by who? FBI. FBI has to take an SEC file and turn it into a criminal thing. it’s like when a medicare or medicare beef with a health care provider goes criminal– they get it from some agency and work it up for a prosecution. But I sense that they have little interest in securities fraud– even less than simple mail and wire fraud— especially coming in under a million and even that probably is not the same threshold, it’s a lot higher i would bet. i have seen people skate with red handed securities fraud that the SEC dinged them for and easily could have been made into criminal prosecutions but it was “only” a few millions so FBI was not that concerned about it.

          there are reasons for this; securities fraud is often harder to prosecute so they just kind of triage it and take the easier investigations and work them instead, lower hanging fruit.

          and you know what the attitude of local prosecutors and cops is to most criminal socalled white collar fraud? leave it to the FBI, they’re too busy chasing dope dealers and hookers and DUIs etc. and the really sad and serious stuff like child abuse and garden variety homicide and rape etc. So yes FBI leaves a lot of things on the table that they should not, my point is simply that.

          But look at how good they were at investigating the hell out of Paul Manafort. and prosecuting the bejeezus out of him. Because of RUSSIANS! I would like to see them put that kind of effort into some of the cheats I have seen get off scot free because they were too small a fry for them to bother.

          1. And do you know who one of the most exemplary US attorneys was at prosecuting fraud? RUDY GIULIANI. i will always remember and appreciate him for persecuting the hell out of some crooks who severely needed it

          2. Why would they be chasing dope dealers? There’s a dedicated agency to do that.

            1. DEA is dedicated but dope comes up into plenty of other federal agencies too. Border, ATF, but who coordinates them all? Essentially FBI. they are the top cops. so they do a lot of dope cases too. a lot.

              here is what fbi says about itself from fbi dot gov

              How does the FBI differ from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)?
              The FBI is a primary law enforcement agency for the U.S. government, charged with enforcement of more than 200 categories of federal laws. The DEA is a single-mission agency charged with enforcing drug laws. The ATF primarily enforces federal firearms statutes and investigates arsons and bombings. The FBI works closely with both agencies on cases where our jurisdictions overlap.

          3. and you know what the attitude of local prosecutors and cops is to most criminal socalled white collar fraud? leave it to the FBI, they’re too busy chasing dope dealers and hookers and DUIs etc.

            Of course it is. That’s not their skill set. You have the state attorney-general, you have the state police, and you have the federal police. The FBI can be dismantled and replaced with a set of specialized services, including one which addresses inter-state fraud schemes. Not that it would ever occur to Congress to do that. No candy in it for donors.

            1. i have no problem with the FBI in concept. it’s a necessary general federal police force. i have a problem with them wasting their efforts on political prosecutions and vice crimes that are mostly just local matters, while the more difficult things like financial crimes go unpoliced.

              local cops do investigate white collar crime, all sorts of embezzlement etc is regularly prosecuted but the more complicated things touching on interstate commerce is where FBI is supposed to be active and instead they are just “too busy” with “small fish”

              you know there are schools of small fish out there which are piranhas and they are eating a lot of americans alive. especially old people get fleeced on a regular basis., telemarketing fraud for example. somebody please arrest these damned callers who are out there selling crap people dont want and dont need whether its donations or a hundred other things. the socalled Do Not Call lists are almost totally ignored. States cant stop that it’s feds but they don’t bother because they are shaving off twenty or thirty bucks off their marks by the thousands so nobody thinks to ask the feds to get active on this. i tell you it’s a waste of time but it’s on THEM to seriously understand how people are suffering from illegal behavior even if its just death by a thousand cuts, and what they and pretty much only they can do to help

    3. What if cops set up honey traps, and the petty thief is caught on video and publicly humiliated? One cop assigned part-time to such a project could make a big difference. But the media has to take interest in the project.
      It’s more a PR project.

    4. Having some collegiate engineering experience, I invite you to actually design such a depository that actually works for fewer than a thousand dollars in material, welder or millwright’s time, and space in the dwelling it’s to occupy.

      If you can push a parcel of any appreciable size through the door in such a depository, you can, using a gardening tool such as a rake or shovel, wedge ti open and take what’s inside. If the depository debouches onto the inside of the house and is larger than a cat door, it’s a burglar’s gift from heaven.

      The best choices are
      – to rent postbox space either at a US Postal Service location or a private package and postbox store, if you expect regular delivery or parcels and cannot arrange to be home or have a member of the family be home to receive it, or
      – order the item you wish through (if they sell it) and take delivery at their nearest store.

  8. Get up a posse to remove the head of the cop force right now!
    Regarding the video: The guy talks too much with his hands, face,neck, etc. Jeso.

  9. Since we learned from the judge on the Parkland school case that the job of the police is to neither protect or serve, this is no surprise.

    When Sheriff Joe was sheriff he had the mounted volunteers ride the parking lots of the malls to cut down on thefts from autos during Xmas. It was a very successful program.

    Many people in my neighborhood have cameras on the front of the house. I am debating which to get.

  10. βϵƨţ ᴘäᴦţ: “Ҟϵϵᴘ ţħϵ ḉħäﬡǥϵ ƴä ƒḯłţħƴ äﬡḯӎäł.”

    Ħϵ ƨħѳǔłđ ħäⱴϵ ƨǔɃƨţḯţǔţϵđ ţħϵ ǥłḯţţϵᴦ ѡḯţħ ƒḯﬡǥϵᴦᴘᴦḯﬡţ ᴘѳѡđϵᴦ. Ḯţ ѡѳǔłđ Ƀϵ ӎѳﬡţħƨ Ƀϵƒѳᴦϵ ţħϵƴ ǥѳţ ţħäţ ḉłϵäﬡϵđ ѳǔţ ḉѳӎᴘłϵţϵłƴ.

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