The Glitter Bomb Series: How a YouTube Star Exposed San Francisco’s Car Theft Problem


Imagine that you are a car thief in San Francisco, a place that is known for having a lot of car thefts. There’s an empty backpack in a car that you decide to check out. When you do, you find that this isn’t any ordinary backpack.

It’s a high-tech trap that looks like something else.

This is not a scene from a high-tech heist movie. It’s what some car thieves in San Francisco ran into, thanks to Mark Rober’s creativity. Rober is a former NASA engineer who is now a YouTube star.

The Glitter Bomb Series: A History of Smart Engineering

Rober’s journey began five years ago when thieves stole a package from his front door. This event made him want to use his technical skills and his desire to do what’s right to make different kinds of glitter bomb bait kits.

Over the years, these devices have changed to include features like spinning, spraying, flashing, sticking, hitting, and even flying. They were made to scare thieves away.

The Glitter Bomb Series How a Youtube Star Exposed San Francisco’s Car Theft Problem

His newest invention, which is made to fit in cars, uses 900 PSI of compressed gas to shoot recyclable glitter and fart spray when it is turned on.

This device, which is hidden in a backpack, has a special circuit board, a car horn, a two-way cell link, and two phones that can record video and track GPS.

Surprising Insights from a Research Collaboration

Rober, in partnership with experienced investigative writer Dan Noyes, aimed to uncover the dynamics behind San Francisco’s frequent auto burglaries in an eight-month-long operation involving 25 individual car break-ins.

Their findings were startling.

Contrary to common assumption, the bulk of these thefts were committed by individuals rather than organized crime syndicates. Many of these people did not appear to be seasoned criminals, raising doubts about the motivations behind their conduct.

Fencing Operations’ Contribution to Thefts

The significance that fencing activities played in expediting the exchange of stolen items for cash was a noteworthy discovery. These marketplaces inadvertently encourage theft by creating a market for stolen goods.

According to the team’s analysis, closing these marketplaces might drastically lower the number of auto burglaries.

The Ultimate Glitter Bomb Reaction & Feeling Hopeful Conclusion

Rober’s project came to a head with a collection of responses to the glitter bomb, but one event stood out. A thief was hit by the full force of the fart spray after breaking into a car and setting off the device. This caused an immediate and dramatic response.

Rober’s glitter bomb series comes to an end, but he leaves behind a legacy of creative engineering and a better understanding of how complicated urban theft can be.

His work not only entertained and educated people, but also shed light on possible answers to a problem that keeps happening in cities.

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