One NASA engineer came up with a unique solution to car thefts: glitter bombs We look at YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober's war on thieves breaking into cars in San Francisco. His weapon of choice? High-tech stinky glitter bombs.

One NASA engineer came up with a unique solution to car thefts: glitter bombs

One NASA engineer came up with a unique solution to car thefts: glitter bombs

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We look at YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober's war on thieves breaking into cars in San Francisco. His weapon of choice? High-tech stinky glitter bombs.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the car of Mark Rober got broken into in San Francisco, he was mad...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARK ROBER: I'm missing a window. Not cool, San Francisco. Not cool.

SIMON: ...And vowed retribution. The inventor, YouTuber and former NASA engineer and his team rigged a high-tech glitter fart bomb. Rober has resorted to glitter bombs before. He rigged some fake packages with cameras and glitter bombs to get revenge on parcel thieves. But, whew, did he step it up this time. Rober and his friend set up a decoy car with cameras and placed backpacks, suitcases outfitted with cameras, tracking devices and pressurized canisters loaded with biodegradable glitter and a powerfully stinky spray that deployed shortly after the bags were stolen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I smell it now.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Me too. I'm smelling something.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I claim whatever, though.

SIMON: Did you catch that? One of the thieves took the rap for the stink. Once the gassy glitter bombs went off, thieves ditched the bags.

(SOUNDBITE OF AEROSOL SPRAYING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Gagging sound).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Toss it. Toss it.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Five, four, three, two...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Toss it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Gagging sound).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Toss it.

SIMON: But sometimes they took the laptop from inside the bag - tracker and all - which gave Mark Rober a lot of data. He wanted to know who's behind the growing number of the car break-ins in San Francisco and where all the stolen goods wind up. He learned that most of the break-ins weren't carried out by armed organized gangs, but individuals, often on foot or bike. Thieves who had their own cars often had stolen plates or none at all. And much of what gets stolen was sold for quick cash in street markets. So if you like the look of a secondhand laptop in San Francisco, but it's stinky, consider the source.

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