One man’s quest to scare package thieves straight

Dec 12, 2017, 3:19 PM

One Tacoma man is literally trying to frighten package thieves away from his porch.

RELATED: ‘Rambo Nanny’ thwarts Everett package thief

“I’d get a notice from Amazon or whatever saying that I had a package on my front porch, get home and notice the package was gone. I’d review my surveillance and watch somebody running away with it,” Jaireme Barrow told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

After that happened a handful of times, Barrow decided to do something about it.

“I wanted to come up with a solution that was safe, because I don’t want to hurt anybody, but scary,” Barrow said. “Number one, I wanted them to drop whatever they were stealing from me. And then two, to think twice about ever stepping on someone’s front porch again.”

The solution Barrow came up with is called The Blank Box. It’s a blank shotgun shell linked to a fake package rigged to go off anytime someone picks it up.

“It’s kind of like a grenade,” Barrow said. Albeit, a really safe grenade. “Anytime you move it up and you try to pick it up, it goes off. What it does is it basically pulls the firing pin out, releasing the pin into the 12 gauge blank.”

With his surveillance cameras, Barrow captures would-be robbers approaching his door and attempting to make off with the dummy package. Then the shotgun shell goes off, sending them sprinting and often stumbling away.

“Obviously I still don’t want anybody to get hurt,” he said. “You walk through my gate, you ignore my ‘No Trespassing’ sign, then you ignore the note on top of the box, then you kind of get what you have coming to you.”

Scaring package thieves

In order to make sure delivery drivers don’t inadvertently set off The Blank Box, Barrow leaves a note instructing people not to move anything on his porch.

Barrow said he has accidentally set the device off on himself before. “It gives you a brief startle and you laugh and that’s about it,” he said. But if you don’t know it’s coming, if you are committing a crime on another person’s property, you are much more liable to be spooked.

“The way I see it, it’s just like any other alarm system. It’s loud noise to deter theft, just like a car alarm or a house alarm. This just happens to be a 12 gauge blank.”

Barrow hopes the device scares thieves into leaving his house alone. He also hopes it makes them quit going after other people’s homes as well.

“With the videos being all over the internet, I’m hoping a little bit of public shaming will help make them choose a different career path,” he said. “It’d be nice to know that what you buy and spend your hard-earned money on is going to be at your door waiting for you.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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One man’s quest to scare package thieves straight