General Question

syz's avatar

Exploding dye packs?

Asked by syz (33251 points ) November 27th, 2007

I work at a 24 hour emergency clinic in a bad part of town. We’ve had a series of break-ins and thefts from employee cars and nothing is working to stop them. We’ve added more lighting to the parking lot and video cameras and recorders – the police are useless (our local police force solves a whopping 4% of property crimes).

I’d love to booby trap a purse or backpack with an exploding dye pack like the banks use but I can’t find them anywhere. (I admit it, it would give me an enormous amount of personal satisfaction – so I’m petty.)

Any ideas?

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11 Answers

sjg102379's avatar

I don’t think that this will fit your needs for the following reasons: 1. I’m pretty sure that they’re only sold in bulk—like big, big bulk and 2. They require a radio transmitter thingy to trigger the explosion, which is probably a bit more of a financial outlay than you’re willing to make.

sjg102379's avatar

But if you want to look into it further, this is the company. http://www.3sisecurity.com/html/na_SecurityPac.asp

Slacka's avatar

I’m looking for something like this to catch some vandals.

A cheap answer for you might be something like the Mentos booby trap (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/394350/mentos_booby_trap/). Basically it drops a Mentos into the Coke when the bottle is opened. Mix some dye in with the Coke and presto! Cheap dye bomb.

sjg102379's avatar

Another warning: booby-trapping something (even if it’s your own property) is illegal in many states. If you caused injury, you could risk criminal and/or civil liability. (I know it does not seem fair, considering that the person was doing something illegal to start with. But that’s the system for you.)

cpk's avatar

Well, syz, what ever happened to your situation? Did you find a successful dye pack? Did the robberies ever stop?

syz's avatar

No, and no. I’ve added additional motion sensor lighting, additional camera monitoring, and lectured the employees endlessly. Meanwhile, we’ve had two more break ins. At a sister clinic in Wilson, NC, a tech who was taking the trash out to the dumpster was attacked, stabbed, and raped.

cpk's avatar

I live by a couple gyms where thieves regularly shop from parked cars. I have never been a victim, but I recently lent a car to a friend that works at one of those gyms, and he left some clothing in the passenger seat. Thieves broke the window looking for what may have been hidden there.

I spent most of the weekend thinking of how to lay bait (knowing full well that this is all illegal and I’m liable if someone should get hurt). The two topics of thought for me are a security camera in my car (to record activity near where I park) or a bait item.

Unfortunately for everyone, I love explosives and the 4th of July is coming around shortly. Putting a few fireworks in a purse and having them ignite when opened is trivial. I’ve thought about adding smoke bombs for visual effect (can then spot them from across the parking lot), and a bit of Liquid Ass (for several hours, this would make them smell bad enough to cause a gag reflex in anyone nearby). After reading about dye packs, I thought about adding some pepper spray, too. Still not sure I want to go through having a window replaced again, though.

mlink14's avatar

I am in your same boat ! Lots of break ins to my car and I want to catch them bad! I am going with remote wireless video in my car and driveway. If i catch them and can find them by sight afterwards cause I think I know who it is I am going to extort them with the video as a way of getting my stuff back then i am going to turn them into the police. No honor among thieves or victims of thieves!

Seumas's avatar

I have a cabin in way out in the woods in TN and I live in S Florida. It was recently broken in to and lived in for several weeks so the local sheriffs dept tells me. The old truck I had there was stolen and they cannot find it. They suspect it was taken and sold as metal at a scrap yard. At any rate, I found this non lethal pepper spray booby trap: http://burglarbomb.com/AB-2000.aspx . It is low tech and works via a trip wire. This normally would not be viable, but since I liked the thought of the next person who breaks in to my cabin to get a face full of pepper spray I figured out a way to make it high tech. I programed an Arduino microcontroller (bout $25 bucks and easy to program) to do two things, one, monitor a passive infrared motion detector ($9.99 at radio shack) and two, turn on a relay switch ($2.79 for 5v reed relay at radio shack) that controls a 12v solenoid (.99 at Electronics goldmine dot com) to pull the trip wire thus releasing the pepper spray. The motion detector covers the whole downstairs and no need for tripwires or multiple units on every door and window, they are all covered. Here is a site that has lots of neat gadgets for home and personal defense: http://www.defensedevices.com/

MarsBandit's avatar

I like all the ideas, but the best one is camera surveillance.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I would go cheaper. I would just put two or three harmless scorpions in there and a sticker on the window letting them know, somewhere in the vehicle are scorpions that they might not see. If one happens to be on the seat ot dash maybe they go elsewhere. Or you and the other business owners can pool your cash and have armed security partol at night.

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