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Car theft is a major problem, with nearly one million incidents in the United States each year. This includes stealing the entire car — or parts of it, such as a catalytic converter. Also, there are many incidents of thieves breaking in and stealing expensive items that owners left in their vehicles, such as electronics. However, to fight back against these thieves, an engineering guru created a device with glitter bombs and fart spray. Watch the viral YouTube video.

Car theft repellent device created by former NASA engineer

San Francisco car thief breaking into vehicle, showing how he’s stopped by glitter bombs and fart spray in YouTube video
Car thief breaking into vehicle | Mark Rober via YouTube

The inventor of the car theft repellent device is Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer that worked on the Mars Curiosity rover. He also assisted Apple’s self-driving car project. 

Rober has a popular YouTube channel in which he puts his engineering expertise to good use. This includes using drones to plant 20 million trees, creating a robot that eats trash, and an automatic strike bowling ball. Others take a whimsical turn, such as dropping a car onto a trampoline or creating a backyard maze for squirrels.

Also, some of Rober’s inventions have made a massive impact. He used a previous incarnation of his anti-theft device to target thieves that steal delivered packages left on the porches of homes. This eventually led to the takedown of a $60 million international crime ring.

Device repels thieves in San Francisco, the ‘car theft capital of the world’

Drone dropping a glitter bomb, which helped stop car theft in San Francisco in YouTube video
Glitter bomb drone | Mark Rober via YouTube

In one of Rober’s recent videos on YouTube, titled “Car Thieves vs. the Final GlitterBomb 5.0,” he goes all out to stop automotive theft. And he does it in San Francisco, California, which is considered the “car theft capital of the world.”

San Francisco averages 74 car break-ins per day, according to NBC Bay Area. There are multiple factors for the high rate, but one of the biggest is the vast gap between the wealthy in the tech industry and the impoverished, with a large homeless population. 

Some of the car thieves are especially aggressive. They don’t just break into parked cars. They’ll also do it for idling or slow-moving vehicles at intersections. The problem has become so extreme that some owners have resorted to leaving the trunks and liftgates open to show that there’s nothing of value in their vehicles.

Upgrades for final version of anti-theft device: Glitter bomb drones and more fart spray

Since Rober posted the video on YouTube several months ago, it’s gone viral — with 29 million views and counting. As the title of the video suggests, this anti-theft device is the final version. And Rober pulled out all the stops with upgrades over the earlier devices. 

Like the previous ones, the exterior of the box left in the car made it seem like it contained expensive electronic equipment, such as an Oculus VR headset or an Xbox game console. The car thieves would steal the boxes, take them home, open them, and then chaos would ensue.

In previous versions, the glitter bomb shot out of the box in one big burst when the thieves opened it. However, for the final one, drones fly out of it, scattering glitter all over the place. The device also contains more fart spray. The earlier incarnation had four vials with 20 milliliters, while the new one has a big one-liter tank. That translates to 50 times the quantity of stinky fart spray. 

Fart spray flowing out of hole in box
Fart spray in car theft repellent device | Mark Rober via YouTube

Also, the final device does a better job of tracking the car thieves, with a sophisticated camera set-up and a more effective tracking system. There’s also a loud siren and voices that sound like police chatter. 

All of these measures typically result in the thieves frantically taking the device and throwing it out of their house — sometimes onto the neighbor’s yard. However, with the cameras recording their activity and the tracking system finding their location, the police can identify the criminals.

It’s unknown how much of a dent Rober’s device has made in reducing car theft. However, considering his earlier impact of helping bring down a $60 million crime ring, it’s best not to underestimate him.