Sick And Tired
Every time he went outside and checked the porch just to find that someone had helped themselves, he got a little more wound up inside.
His hard-earned money was going down the drain and he’d had enough of it. Until, one day, he heard a loud bang and a scream. He sat back and cracked a slow, satisfied smile.
In the U.S., a third of all packages delivered to residential homes never reach their recipients. And it’s not because of the faulty postal service or unscrupulous vendors.
No - it’s because of greedy Porch Pirates who just can’t resist the temptation of a package sitting unattended on a hard-working man’s porch. Well, Arthur Russel was sick and tired of it.
Now, Arthur wasn’t an unreasonable man. In fact, he prided himself on the self-discipline he had mastered during his time on the force.
He was humble and had worked hard for everything he had - only for someone else to audaciously take his things like they were owed to them. The first time it happened, Arthur was angry. The second, third, and fourth time, he saw red.
From small items like toilet paper to expensive Jeep automotive parts, the brazen bandits had stolen it all from him while he was at work.
Arthur had tried to take the high road by reporting the thefts to the police, but they weren’t interested in his problem. Fuming over his losses, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
After multiple calls to the police and getting no joy, Arthur got to work to create the ultimate revenge box.
The next person who decided to go sidewalk shopping with a five-finger discount on his porch would have another thing coming. You see, unfortunately for them, Arthur had a unique set of skills and a rather unusual hobby.
Arthur Is A Navy SEAL
Arthur is a former Navy SEAL, specializing in Unconventional Warfare. To carry out dangerous missions, he had undergone grueling training - both physical and mental. This had left him with a hardened mind that ran on calculation and determination.
In his spare time, he also enjoyed building booby traps. When the porch pirates messed with Arthur, they didn’t know that they were creating a perfect storm.
He started to build a very complicated box. But after some time he decided he wanted a simpler approach.
The trap had a snare that she modified to almost be like a Chinese finger trap. But he wasn't happy with the result. He wanted more but in a different way. He wanted the thief to regret ever crossing him.
"I was thinking, how could I scare them and make them drop my package and then never come to my front porch again," Arthur recalls.
He thought about it long and hard. His number one goal was to give them the fright of their life but not hurt them in any way. The cops would only complicate things.
He drew draft after draft until he felt that it was perfect. He took out the snares and opted for something more... explosive!
He scrapped the original idea entirely and started working on a new idea. After writing lists of what he could do, it dawned on him. He'd just have to rig it correctly so no one got hurt.
Arthur made a list of supplies and went into the hardware store to get everything that he had to put into this revenge box. As he left he felt like the cashier was watching him - did they suspect what he was doing?
He understood how it probably looked but why would he care? He didn't have to explain anything to them and they could make any assumptions they liked - even if they turned out to be true.
Arthur spent the rest of the day putting together his device and making a box look like an official goods package.
When Arthur finished, he stood back and looked at his masterpiece with delight. He took it to his backyard for a test drive and laughed in excitement when it did just what he engineered it to.
He tested it again, this time covering his ears. The first one left them ringing. He tested it over and over again to make sure it was reliable. And it was.
There was just one more piece left to make it all come together. Arthur got in the car and drove to the nearest store to get a security camera. There was no escaping him now.
Arthur returned home and installed a doorbell cam so that he could see the thief’s face while he was at work. The footage didn’t disappoint.
Now, all that was left to do was lay down his trap and wait. Just as he expected, he didn’t have to wait very long. That evening as he sat on his couch, He caught his first victim.
The doorbell cam shows the unsuspecting victim audaciously strolling right up to Arthur’s front door. Arthur watched eagerly from his phone.
He was sitting on the edge of the seat. He couldn’t believe that a thief could look so casual before committing a crime. To his surprise, it’s a woman.
Arthur watches in amazement as the woman approaches. She goes to ring the doorbell to check if anyone is home, but is spooked by the motion sensor light.
She walks away from the door. Then Arthur notices a getaway vehicle in the background. The man inside eggs her on, telling her to turn around.
With the person waiting in the getaway car growing impatient, the woman goes back to the house, takes a last look around, and grabs the package... BOOM.
The woman screams and runs back to the getaway car so fast that Arthur ends up with her cellphone. Poetic justice. He sits back and smirks. What had he done?
Simple And Effective
Arthur’s box is genius in its simplicity. The box contains a plate that holds back a firing pin, which is connected to a string that’s secured to his doorknob.
When the box is lifted or pulled, the plate moves enough to allow the firing pin to set off a 12-gauge shotgun blank. But was it legal?
Don’t Try This At Home
State law forbids anyone from assembling explosive devices without a valid license. "Even though it's a blank, the way the device is made is actually illegal," said police spokeswoman, Loretta Cool.
The police don’t think that Arthur’s “Boom Box” was a good idea at all. “If the would-be package thief is hurt in any way, the homeowner would be responsible,” she continued...
"Even more than him crossing the line, I'm not sure if people realize that, even though this person is stealing something, he can't intentionally set them up to be hurt", Cool explained.
She also said that Arthur’s man trap could also be a crime itself. But it would be up to the Porch Pirates to lay criminal charges… something that hasn’t been done.
Although the box is terrifying, Arthur says it’s perfectly safe. He told reporters that he’s tested it dozens of times, and he even tested it with a ripe tomato inside.
“It never hurt me once,” he explained in an interview. “It didn’t hurt the tomato in there either.” And the contraption has lured more than one thief.
Arthur did suggest however, that if anyone was to copy his idea, they might want to cover their backs first - for legal reasons.
He learnt that it was best to tack up a “no trespassing” sign and taping a beware note to the box, warning people not to move packages from the porch. That can protect the homeowner from lawsuits - and Arthur knew that.
The involvement of the cops and the legal discussions around his ploy may have deterred some people from pursuing it further, but Arthur was different.
There was no way he was going to stop what he was doing. Especially when he was catching criminals red-handed trying to steal from him. He was also confident it was completely safe. And time and time again, his device proved effective.
Arthur set his trap once again, hoping to teach another thief a lesson. Just a few days later, he caught one. Everything went exactly to plan once more.
The man sees the porch, runs up to grab the package… and BOOM. “I know it’s crude, but there’s nothing scarier than a 12-gauge,” a satisfied Arthur quipped.
Although the police aren’t pleased with Arthur’s Boom Box, they did start to take his complaints more seriously.
After all, his invention has caught a whopping 20 would-be thieves. All the cops had to do was search for the individuals on his camera. Although Arthur does admit that his solution isn’t perfect, he says it offers something others don't.
The unparalleled satisfied feeling of watching a thief run terrified off your lawn!
Arthur and the cops were even able to track down some Porch Pirates from the door cam footage after they scurried away. As long as the thieves keep deciding that Arthur’s porch is easy pickings, the Boom Box will stay there. But the Boom Box wasn't the only weapon Arthur tried out.
Although Arthur was a bachelor, he didn’t live alone. Arthur lived with his 8-year-old tomcat called Boots. Boots gave Arthur some much-needed company. He was a quiet and affectionate cat so when Arthur discovered he could help deter the porch pirates, he was pleasantly surprised.
But just what did Boots do?
Boots used the kitty litter. What’s grosser than opening a package of supposedly valued goods only to find out it’s used kitty litter.
While Arthur was in his experimental phase, he decided to take Boots’ kitty litter and pour it into one of the empty Amazon boxes he had lying around the house. The result?
Not As Planned
He watched from the window as a man walked up to his porch and swiftly grabbed his Amazon package. Arthur chuckled as he walked away. But then there was a problem.
His neighbor saw his address on it and picked up the open box a few blocks down. The man had opened the box and discarded it on the side of the road. But that’s not all.
Not As Planned
His neighbor read the note Arthur left inside for the thief and put two and two together. Arthurs note read, “Hi, you’re on camera. F-you thief. Hope you like cat crap”.
His neighbor immediately knew what Arthur was trying to do as he had suffered from porch pirates himself. He hated them just as much as Arthur but he hated trash on the street too.
He returned the prank box to Arthur but advised him to think of something better next time. And when he did, to let him know so he could do it too.
Arthur took his advice to heart and continued to experiment. He tried filling the box with garbage which led to the same result. Then he thought of something completely different.
It was the idea that sparked his final 12-gauge boom box master plan. He made a glitter bomb. He blew up a balloon and filled it with glitter and confetti.
He stuck a pin to the inside of the box and created a lever so as when the box was opened, the glitter would explode onto the thieves’ clothes. But it didn’t have the desired effect...
It was better than the garbage and kitty because at least this prank projected onto the thief but, it was still not scary enough. Needless to say, the blanks took care of that problem.
But all of these prank experiments caused a moral debate online. Just because Arthur was sick and tired of his hard-earned money being stolen - did people think it was right to make them pay?
Some victims of porch piracy think even the term ‘porch pirate’ is too cute a description to use for these common thieves.
For many people, they’re the worst this society has to offer. Especially for Christine Hyatt who like Arthur, has her own war story of misgivings dealing with these low-lives.
Currently, America is going through a porch pirate epidemic and Christine Hyatt is one homeowner that has suffered greatly at their hands.
With a daughter with diabetes, Christine relies on her packages to deliver some much-needed medical devices for her child. Yet, all too many times, her life-saving equipment has been stolen.
Stolen Medical Supplies
Christine claims that over 20 packages of hers have been stolen this year alone. Six of those packages contained her daughter's medical supplies.
It made her become as revenge-focused as Arthur and she sent up many prank boxes too. Their neighborhood is one of the worst-hit by porch pirates and it was leaving its mark.
When a neighborhood is tormented by porch pirates, it soon becomes an issue of safety. If you have thieves willing to drive around your neighborhood in broad daylight, targeting your house, then what else are they capable of doing?
It was a question that plagued Christine and Arthur and a real motivation behind their revenge. But not everyone agreed.
A thread on Reddit debating the topic was surprisingly full of people jumping to the porch pirates’ defense. “It's all fun and games until one of the would-be robbers sues for PTSD” one Reddit user typed.
Another user wrote, “I don’t get this. You’re placing your property out there. It’s not the thief’s fault if he decided to take it and then gain access to its contents”.
Apparently, some people think that unless your property is in your house, then it’s a free-for-all. Of course, this is absolutely false. If that were true then by this logic, parking our cars in our yards or having our chairs, lights, and plants in our yard are also up for grabs.
A homeowner’s property is anything within the territorial limits of that home. Front lawn, back lawn, side lawns - included!
Mostly, however, people online shared a mutual hatred for these thieves and a huge disappointment in how the authorities failed to deal with them.
It left many people like Arthur and Christine feeling like they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands and serve justice themselves. But what would you do?
What Would You Do?
If you were constantly targeted by porch pirates and made official complaints to police that seemed to go nowhere, would you take the risk of injuring a thief to serve justice? Or would you pursue a different solution?
At the end of the day, whatever is safe and doesn’t cause any lawsuits to fall at your door is the best way forward.