BMW just did a heroic act by remotely locking a stolen car with the thief still inside. Last week in Seattle, a suspected thief’s getaway car proved to be his jail when BMW employees tracked and remotely locked the stolen car, police said.
How it all happened
Last Sunday, when the suspect was prowling for cars, he stumbled upon an unlocked BMW 550i with the keys inside. After realizing that her car was stolen at around 5 a.m., the owner reported the matter to the police. The owner, who had loaned her car to a friend, had gotten married the day before. After officers contacted BMW corporate, they were told the current location of the vehicle. According to police, they found the car in an alley with the suspect sleeping inside.
In a post on Wednesday, the deputy director of communications for the Seattle Police Department, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, narrated a witty summary of the incident.
“A car thief awoke from a sound slumber Sunday morning (Nov. 27) to find he had been remotely locked inside a stolen BMW, just as Seattle police officers were bearing down on him,” the post read. “BMW employees were able to remotely lock the car’s doors, trapping the suspect inside, presumably while hissing something terrifying like ‘I’m not locked in here with you, you‘re locked in here with me’ into the car’s sound system.”
BMW technology the true hero
Police say they then booked the 38-year-old suspect, who was carrying a small amount of methamphetamine, for auto theft and drug possession. Though the police blotter gave no details on how BMW employees remotely locked the vehicle, the automaker does allow its call center staff to “remotely lock or open the doors to your vehicle as needed” via its SIM card-based ConnectedDrive system, says Gizmodo.
Last year after the German Automobile Association found flaws in the system, BMW vowed to improve security on ConnectedDrive. Also, in July, a security researcher found flaws in BMW’s ConnectedDrive web portal, making it vulnerable to hacks through a browser.
There have been several instances in which technology found inside a car has thwarted the efforts of the car thieves, thus protecting the vehicle and its owner. Last year, a case was reported in which a Tesla Model S owner was able to guide the police in tracking down his stolen vehicle. However, there is another side to this; rising technology and inter-connectedness give more loopholes to potential hackers.