In an admission that killed the joy of Christmas, the NASA engineer who built a drip-shot device to get back to the porch pirates told the world that his video of package thieves getting their bright, stinking deserts was at least partially staged. .
Mark Rober, in a Twitter statement on Thursday, said he took more than a minute of footage of his video viewed later, "I was presented with information that made me doubt the veracity of 2 of the 5 reactions in the video."
Rober said he had "put his hand" on someone willing to put the package on his porch, offering to pay for the bait and retrieve the discarded package.
But the "thieves" who stole that person's package were "actually known to the person who helped me."
Rober, who could not be contacted immediately to comment on Saturday morning, claimed that the reactions recorded when the packages were taken from his own home were legitimate, but that he could understand if people had any doubts about the entire video.
"My credibility is a kind of shot," he said in the tweet.
The video in question, Rober said, was inspired by a pair of package thieves who fled with a birth from their balcony in California one day in broad daylight about seven months ago.
Outraged, Rober – a former NASA engineer who runs a popular YouTube channel documenting his many scientific experiments – began to think about how he could catch the pirates on the porch.
Although he caught the thieves in his security cameras, Rober said police had said it would not be worth investigating.
"So you feel powerless too, and I felt something needs to be done to position itself against dishonest punks like that," Rober said in a YouTube video posted Monday.
"And then I was like, wait."
Rober explained that he spent nine years working for NASA, including the hardware design for the Mars Curiosity rover, which is currently outperforming Mars.
"If anyone was going to make a bundle of revenge and exaggerate the production, it would be me," concluded Rober.
Rober decided to create a trap inspired by his "hero and inspiration from childhood", Kevin McAllister, the young and talented protagonist (played by Macaulay Culkin) in the films "Home Alone" of the 90s.
With the help of friends, Rober scoffed at a design for his ideal trap: it would be disguised as a package – specifically an Apple HomePod box wrapped in cellophane that he knew would be "attractive" to any pirate on the porch.
It would be enabled for GPS, so he could track his journey as soon as he left the perimeter of his house
He would record video with embedded cell phones, no matter how the thief took the packet.
And once triggered, it would be brilliant. So shining.
"Finally, when they opened the package, I wanted to celebrate their choice of profession with a cloud of glitter," Rober said.
A pound of glitter, that is. To add insult to injury, Rober also built a can of "fart spray", programmed to spray automatically after the explosion of brightness is triggered.
"No kidding, you can clean a room with a spray of those things," Rober said.
For the details of how Rober designed his stinking "glow pump," we turned to the YouTube video he created documenting the project:
The whole package took about six months to be designed and then "tested" in the field.
There are some delicious Easter eggs. If someone had looked carefully, he or she would have noticed the UPS delivery label addressed to "Harry and Marv," a nod to the not-so-good pair in "Home Alone."
As it turns out, none of the thieves paid much attention before snatching the box.
On Monday, Rober uploaded his video documenting the project "Glitter Bomb vs. Package Thief" for his YouTube page. As of Saturday morning, the video had more than 45 million views.
"It's like fun engineering fun," Rober told The Washington Post in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "[With all my videos]I try to make people concerned about science and engineering. But that clearly hit some kind of nerve. "
In the past, he has disputed online criticism that he hired actors, insisting that all recorded footage was of real pack robbers.
"I defy anyone who thinks the packages are not stolen to put a HomePod box wrapped in cellophane on the porch and leave it there day in and day out and see how honest people are," Rober told The Post.
The pirate epidemic on the porch is real.
An InsuranceQuotes study estimated that about 26 million Americans had a stolen vacation package. With the increase in stolen orders, there was an increase in "door watchers," as Petula Dvorak of The Post reported:
There's even a guy in Tacoma, Washington, who is marketing a device that fires a 12-gauge empty space the moment a pirate raises the bait pack.
A woman from the District of Columbia, tired of having nearly $ 1,000 in stolen packages from her balcony on the Capitol, left a nice gift for her pirates – a heavy box with the poop of her two dogs.
"That did not stop them," says Andrea Hutzler.