BYU grad, engineer targets porch pirates with ‘glitter fart bomb’

BYU mechanical engineering graduate Mark Rober has gained YouTube infamy for his glitter spewing fart bomb, targeting package thieves. Image: YouTube/Mark Rober

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Dec. 18, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Brigham Young University graduate and engineer-inventor Mark Rober knew he had the skills to strike back after a porch pirate purloined something he had ordered for delivery.

What Rober didn’t know was a video he made about his homemade solution — basically a glitter-spewing fart bomb — would result in a viral video seen and shared by millions.

“I’ve officially peaked,” the 38-year-old BYU mechanical engineering grad wrote on his YouTube page.

As of Tuesday, his video had earned more than 15 million views.

Rober, a California native and resident and a former NASA engineer, decided to design, create and shrink wrap an “over-engineered monstrosity,” then leave it on his porch to tempt opportunistic thieves.

Inside the box was a motor rigged to spew a pound of glitter once opened by the thief, then to release scent like that of flatulence, all while recording the hijinks on cell phones included in the device.

Since thieves were frantic to dispose of the “bomb,” Rober could then retrieve the package using information from the tracking device he included.

Personal satisfaction was high, Rober said, but the big payoff was a video including the recorded reactions of the shocked and sparkly thieves as they cursed and flung the bombs out the nearest door.

Rober had the basic idea for his bomb after a real package he had ordered was stolen from his porch, and police told him they didn’t have the time or resources to look into the thefts without more evidence than his surveillance video.

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That’s when Rober took justice into his own hands.

“I just felt like something needs to be done to take a stand against dishonest punks like this,” he says in the video. “And then I was, like, hold up! I built a dartboard that moves to get a bull’s-eye every time. I spent nine years designing hardware that’s currently roving around on another freaking planet.”

“If anyone … was going to make a revenge fake package and over-engineer the crap out of it, it was going to be me.”

Rober and a friend spent six months perfecting the device, then began testing it for his YouTube fans. He has 4.5 million subscribers and previously hosted a series for the Science Channel. He also has appeared as a guest on the late night show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Rober has made lots of other videos, but this one struck a nerve. Many of the 62,000-plus viewers to leave comments have urged him to please market the device so they can buy their own.

Many more have suggested that rather than motorized spinning glitter, he fit the device to release itching powder, nails, a few thousand fleas, or even something more lethal.

“So the moral of the story is just don’t take other people’s stuff,” Rober says in the video. “Not only is it not cool, but on the plus side, you’ll never find yourself in this situation.”

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