BMW fan helps recovering a stolen 335i

Interesting | October 24th, 2009 by 18

It is an understatement to say that the BMW community is loyal to the brand and its members. BMW has always had a very tight …

It is an understatement to say that the BMW community is loyal to the brand and its members. BMW has always had a very tight and loyal community following. The members of this community are one of the most helpful car owners, but the story below will really emphasize the value of this community.

Tom (nybsbl04) a member of, lives in New York City. Earlier this week, he noticed in front of his apartment an abandoned BMW 335i Coupe Alpine White in a no parking zone. The cEditar was showing signs of a break-in -sunroof cracked-  and more than 20 tickets in the window.

Being a good Samaritan and aware of its surroundings, Tom posted an entry on the forum, along with photos, stating the facts listed by us above. Several member forums jumped in to help and requested the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). After running the number, Tom managed to obtain the address where the car was registered.


Now here comes the interesting part….how many of you would have have gone straight to the police and let them investigate? I know I would have, but Tom showed some impressive detective skills. He “googled” the address and found out that the house at that particular address is up for sale.

So, what next? Well, continuing down this new career path, a detective path that is, Tom called the real estate broker. Fortunately, she knew about the situation with the stolen car and put him in touch with the owners.

But here is how the story progressed from here:


I got into contact with the owners and notified that their car had been sitting in front of my building for two weeks, untouched. They were ecstatic to say the least. To make a long story short, the owners’ son had the car while in college at Boston and made a road trip to visit his friend in NYC. He had it parked outside, and a few hours later it was gone, stolen. They arranged to have him take a bus from Boston to NYC this friday to get the car as the insurance company overnighted him the keys.


I come back from a late dinner and see 3 NYPD cars surrounding the 335i, which is now perpendicular on the road, with half of the car up on the side walk, and half in the road. I walk over to the officers and tell them my story, in which they were shocked, but believed me. It appears the thieves came back and tried to swing the car out of the spot they left it in. The car is still untouched and locked. They contacted the owners in California with the phone number I provided and contact the Auto Task Force to run the plates. The car was picked up by an NYPD tow truck and impounded. They think it’s a car theft ring that uses frequency duplicators and tow trucks to take and read the wireless frequencies of the remotes.

Amazed yet? I know I was…great to see that many of us still care and once again, thanks Tom for being one of the good guys.

Thanks for the tip Jesse!

18 responses to “BMW fan helps recovering a stolen 335i”

  1. Mike Messer says:

    That’s a great story to hear about!! I know my dad would have loved if someone had seen the guys that took 20k worth of parts off his e39 530i about 5 years ago (the guys were eventually found).

  2. Doug says:

    Why did he need replacement keys if the car was stolen with a code spoofer?

    Is it possible that he locked his keys in the car and left it there (since it wasn’ t his and he only had one key set) until someone broke into it through the sunroof and attempted to joyride? Hooligan kids do this all the time, and they don’t drive or parallel park very well.

  3. Doug says:

    It sounds like the NYPD is suggesting that a bunch of code-phreaking circus strongmen picked the car up but were foiled by their own poor spatial skillz.

  4. mark says:

    Maybe I’m missing something but why not just call the cops? In the time he was playing internet detective the thieves could have moved the car. Anyway, I call phoney. What ‘organised crime ring’ would leave a stolen car in a public no parking zone then return during daylight hours daylight to collect it?

  5. X5 SoB says:

    Yeah, I call shenanegans as well. Something about this story just doesn’t ring true. Besides, wouldn’t a broken sunroof have set off the motion detector inside the car?

  6. jon H says:

    lotsss of interesting questions here. seems a big fishy.

  7. Doug says:

    There are some interesting posts in that thread.

    Appareantly the police found the battery disconnected. “oneginee” later notes:

    “…the reason for leaving that 335i on a street for several days is to make sure it is “clean” have it sit somewhere to make sure that the car does not have a concealed wired antenna like lo jack powered from a secondary hidden power generator (not car battery). Then if the car is still there after a few days they come back and finish the job. They don’t take the risk having that car lead the police to their hub.”


  8. mark says:

    I’d buy it if it were in a quiet back street, for example, but not illegally parked apparently having accumulated some 20 tickets. Isn’t this going to arouse suspicion from anyone – don’t illegally cars eventually get towed over there? To keep putting so many tickets on a car seems ridiculous – wouldn’t the parking attendants inform the police of a possible abandoned stolen car? Would such criminal gang return in the afternoon/evening in daytime? I highly doubt it.

  9. Tom says:


    I cant believe this has spread like it has. Trust me, I tried calling NYPD and even asked them to run the plates as a cop was sitting ACROSS the street from it one night and he didnt want to do it. I took it upon myself to do the leg work.

    IM glad its safe now though.

    • Doug says:

      You’re Dectective Tom? Good job, man! Can I ask: what direction was the car facing after they found it “reparked”? Was the rear on the curb?

      There’s been a number of other BMW stories that got wide attention, like the 335 hit-and-run or the fed agent in his 335xi who got run off the road by a trucker. It’s exciting stuff for a small community.

      And yes nypd can be really off the mark. I’ve got so many stories from when I lived there.

  10. Cara says:

    For all of those who doubt Tom’s story –I was with him the night we both came home to see the BMW facing perpendicular to the curb. It wasn’t parked in an illegal spot, its just that New York city parking signs only allow you to park during certain hours of certain days, so it had accumulated tickets because no one had bothered to move it away during the “non-parking” times for however long it had been there.

  11. mark Dixon says:

    Ok, sorry for being suspicious. I’m surprised cops wouldn’t check an expensive car with out of town plates and twenty tickets in case it had been reported stolen.

    New York cops are notoriously lazy and stupid – is this true? The Strokes sang about it, countless tv shows depicted it. Bucking the trend Detective Andy Sipowicz while an emotional type, was incredibly sharp. Probably still is, down on the 15th precinct suffering endless personal tragedies, struggling with his race issues, getting hot headed.

    Have to get round to watching the Shield. Everyone tells me it’s *the* cop show, and I love cop shows. Apart from Brit cop shows which are terrible like most British television. The Bill, lol.

  12. John D. says:

    And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for Tom!!!

  13. Doug says:

    No one is doubting Tom’s story, but there’s probably some speculation about the driver’s story. And the intriguing backstory. And the NYPD’s theories.

    I would get ticketed at 9:05am and towed by 9:15. How the heck did this go 2-3 weeks without getting picked up?

  14. Rain says:

    There’s a brand new BMW parked near my house which is next to a ball field. I called police with the plate and they said it wasn’t stolen. I advised them that I was concerned because there was a set of keys on the driver’s arm rest that looked like house keys. The police said they would do nothing for 48 hours. I ran the vin number through id and found that the title had been registered on July 22nd and the car only had 30 miles on it. It’s a black 328i model.

    Who would buy a $50,000 car and then park it on a side street for days, with keys in the front? Maybe it’s a bait car that police are using to trap car thieves

    I told the police dispatch that there were keys in the front and maybe the driver was in some kind of trouble. I can’t imagine anyone abandoning a brand new vehicle, especially a BMW. If they can afford a new car, surely they have a garage to store it in! I thought the police would get in touch with the owner to see if they are okay. Instead, the police told me to “call back tomorrow if it’s still there”.

    This is unacceptable!

  15. Bmw Vin says:

    Before you buy a used Bmw, Mini or Rolls-Royce check the car specifications and options in order to see the the wanted vehicle it is not a stolen vehicle. You can also che the factory options and ordered options of the car. – The most complete online vin decoder for Bmw – Mini adn Rolls-Royce.

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