High-tech lock protects packages from porch pirates

BoxLock to be featured on ABC's "Shark Tank"
Posted at 12:32 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 18:42:29-04

After moving to a new home, Brad Ruffkess installed security cameras thinking video surveillance would deter package thieves.

"The next day, I saw some guy walk up and steal two packages off my porch," said Ruffkess.

He, like many others, knows the frustration of being a victim of package theft and wanted to come up with a way that puts deliveries under lock and key. So, he invented BoxLock.

The yellow lock connects to the internet and is placed on a secure locking storage bin.

"The delivery driver is going to walk up, they're going to press the button on top of the lock, use the barcode scanner on the lock to scan the tracking number on the package. The locks going to connect to the internet, it's going to confirm: is that package really for you and is it out for delivery? If the answer to both those questions is yes, the lock will pop open, giving you access. Put the package inside, lock it up and you'll get a notification on your phone letting you know the package has been secured and delivered," said Ruffkess.

The product officially launched in July. They sold out on Amazon Prime Day and are now in 48 states and more than 1,000 zip codes.

Other retailers have recognized this need for security. Amazon has Amazon Key where a driver actually puts the package inside your house or your car. They also offer lockers in different communities. But these security measures are limited to Amazon deliveries.

“We're the only nationally available solution to be able to protect deliveries across all the major carriers: UPS, USPS, FedEx and Amazon," said Ruffkess.

There are still some kinks to work out. WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii tried out BoxLock. Delivery drivers were intrigued but only one could get it to work. This was before BoxLock was publicly available. In that time, Ruffkess said they've partnered with major carriers to educate drivers on how to use the system.

“What we've seen is the more BoxLocks there are in the neighborhood, the more familiar the drivers are when using it, the faster they are when using it, the better the customer experience is on the other side of it,” Ruffkess said.

It's one more option consumers have in combating the invasion of porch pirates and keeping thieves from getting away with their deliveries.

BoxLock costs $129 and works with any box with a lockable lid or compatible porch boxes for sale online. Amazon Key costs upwards of $200.

Ruffkess will pitch his product on Shark Tank this Sunday, October 7 at 10 p.m. on WMAR-2 News.