A work of "revenge art" got the internet buzzing with excitement this week—but now, after some online detectives got to work, it seems the video wasn't all it was cracked up to be. BuzzFeed News reports that Mark Rober's "Magnum Opus," a contraption that sprayed glitter and fart spray on wannabe thieves trying to lift the decoy package from people's porches, was "pretty much staged." While the device that Rober says he spent six months building may have indeed been functional, some soon suspected that the video he posted showing apparent thieves was a little fishy. Users on Reddit, Twitter, and messaging platforms picked up on certain clues using high-tech sleuthing tools like Zillow and Google's Street View, and what they found cast doubt on the authenticity of the thieves' reactions.
Although Rober's video made it seem as if the bandits were hitting Illinois houses, a few of the homes (as well as a Ford Focus with a rosary dangling from its mirror) appeared to be in a California neighborhood where a woman IDed as Rober's friend Cici lives. Some also said the thieves' reactions seemed fake, and that it was weird the cops didn't get involved. When people confronted Rober, he cut portions of the clip, blurred other details, and posted an update on social media. He says he did offer "financial compensation," via a "friend of a friend," to people who were willing to put the package on their porches and later confirmed that, in two cases, the thieves were acquaintances of the friend helping him. "I'm sorry for putting something up on my channel that was misleading," he writes. (An Ohio woman got arrested for glitter-bombing an ex-boss.)