The creators of SkunkLock want crime to make people sick – literally. The San Francisco-based startup is trying to fight crime by developing a special lock that sprays a gag-inducing odor if bike thieves cut into it.
“The smell can be best described as vomit,” SkunkLock co-inventor Daniel Idzkowski said. “The lock needs to fight back in some way. There needs to be some other deterrent other than being big, heavy and strong.”
Like thousands of others in the Bay Area, Idzkowski and his business partner Yves Perrenoud had several of their own bikes stolen. According to NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit, more than 700 bikes have already been stolen this year in San Francisco alone.
The two created a lock that sprays a pressurized gas made of food-grade chemicals.
“It’s not designed to be harmful. It’s purely designed to be a deterrent,” Idzkowski said.
The odor is so strong they have to store it on their office balcony.
“I’ve probably got four Ziploc bags around it, and my hands still smell,” Perrenoud said.
Cyclists think it’s a cool idea.
“I would buy something that would squirt somebody in the face with poison, or mace or whatever. I would definitely buy that just for the satisfaction of knowing that could happen,” bike messenger Jamie Lee said.
While other cyclists say bike thieves are so clever, they may still figure out a way.
“They might try to freeze it and freeze the lock off especially if they know and the professional bike thieves do know how to use different approaches to get through different locks,” said musician Garrett Smith.
Idzkowski and Perrenoud say shields and other methods won’t protect thieves from the aerosol.
However, there is still time for feedback, as they are still developing the lock. They expect to have it on the market in June 2017 for about $150.
Meantime, they are offering it for a discount on their Indiegogo crowdfunding webpage.