TACOMA, Wash. — When it comes to catching package thieves, some homeowners use surveillance cameras. But Jaireme Barrow wants to scare them away so they never come back.
So about a year ago he invented something he calls “The Blank Box” — and he says business is booming.
The package — an empty booby-trapped box — is left on a porch. But it’s rigged with fishing wire and a 12-gauge shotgun blank that goes off.
“Now it’s ready to go,” he said as he put one of his boxes down. “So it’s fully contained. You can move it around however you want. You don’t have to worry about it going off. Leave it on the porch all day and then when someone comes up to pick it up — pop! pop! — that’s when it goes off.”
The goal is to make sure thieves get away with nothing more than a scare.
"I got tired of all my packages coming up missing," Barrow said. "I'd be at work and I'd get home and they wouldn't be on my front porch and I'd watch my surveillance and see someone running away with them."
So he came up the idea of his "Blank Box" to make the thieves run away and not come back.
"It's just like any alarm system. It's just a loud noise and it deters theft, but it just happens to be a 12-gauge blank in this case."
One year after coming up with the idea and his Blank Box has turned into a big business.
"So it's all hands-on, made in America. Every one of these is built with love."
Maybe more like tough love.
"This is my test area," he said, showing his workshop area. "Everything I test out myself, want to make sure everything is 100 percent safe."
He's now selling "The Blank Box" on his website -- theblankbox.com
He also sells T-shirts with the wording, "Don't Touch My Package!" and "Don't Touch My Box!"
"Yeah, I sold out the other day. I'm actually out there slaving away," he said, chuckling.
He said his Tacoma neighbors are big supporters.
"It deters people from coming on their porches, too, cause, you know, they never know what they have on their porch is a a blank box or a legit package. So my hope is it just makes people think twice about what they are doing."
Tacoma police have said this could backfire on you. If you rig a package like this -- and it injures a thief -- then you could be held liable.
Police say your best bet is to file a police report and hand your surveillance video over to investigators.
By the way, Barrow also uses this same device on his pickup truck. If a thief gets a door open, it fires a 12-gauge blank.