“Needle-in-a-haystack” situation sees carjacked BMW M5 reunited with owner
A businessman who was carjacked at knifepoint, says it is a ‘miracle’ that he has been reunited with his car thanks to a simple free phone app.
Nadim Hanif, 38, from Leeds, had just concluded a meeting in Birmingham city centre on Wednesday 18th June when his beloved BMW M5 was stolen by a pair of masked men.
The publishing group director was forced out of the car by the armed and masked assailants just after 4pm and left stranded without his phones, money or car.
“It was a horrible experience and something I had never encountered before,” he said.
“I knew they wanted the car and I knew they were willing to hurt me for it, so I thought I need to just cooperate with these guys and walk away to avoid getting into an even worse situation.
“They took my wallet, phones, iPad and of course the car.” He added: “I was very disturbed but at the same time exceptionally grateful that nothing had happened to me.”
During the attack an onlooker had called the police and within two minutes of the men driving away, three patrol cars had arrived on the scene.
Two of the response units went to search for the stolen car whilst the police helicopter was also sent up in the search efforts yet to no avail.
“I couldn’t believe it had gone,” Mr Hanif added.
“The car has such sentimental value to me and you can’t replace something like that because I had waited so long to get it.”
Two days later, Mr Hanif was at home with his family when his replacement phone arrived after contacting the insurers.
Knowing that he had already set up a BMW app on his stolen mobile, which alerts drivers where their cars are parked within a specific radius, he once again downloaded the app and decided to head down to the West Midlands with a group of friends to ‘take a chance at finding the car’.
“The ‘My BMW’ app can find a car if you are about a mile and a half away,” Mr Hanif explained.
“It is designed for when you park in a busy place like an airport but I thought we may as well give it a go.
“We headed down on the Friday, literally two days after the incident, with the plan of just driving around a few areas and hoping the car would register on the app’s map.”
The group stopped off at Big John’s Lawley Middleway drivethru, Langdon Street, when they arrived in Birmingham.
To their ‘amazement’ the phone’s app registered almost immediately showing the car to be parked just over a mile away.
After following the signal, they pulled up outside an underground parking lot where they found the blue BMW M5.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Mr Hanif said.
“We had no idea if we were even going to find it, let alone within five minutes of arriving in the city. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“I instantly called the police and whilst I was still on the phone with them two CID officers arrived on the scene before backup came down. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie.
“It’s an absolute miracle and so phenomenal. I am so grateful to the police for their help and fast response time and also my friends who helped me find the car and the guys at Big John’s.”
Mr Hanif added his warning to fellow drivers on the road and urged them to always put safety first if they were to encounter such a situation.
“For anybody driving any car, safety for yourself is the most important thing,” he said.
“Don’t try and be a hero, don’t try and fight these people just be safe.
“A car can be replaced but you can’t.”