Watch: Gone in 20 seconds – Birmingham teacher stole a BMW from his car on his birthday



It was the moment a Birmingham teacher had the worst birthday surprise after ‘dastardly’ car thieves pulled his vehicle from his driveway in seconds.

The thieves struck at Padstow Road, Erdington, near Pype Hayes Park, shortly after midnight on Thursday (October 14).

The theft was detected on a Ring doorbell camera at 12:23 a.m. and two car thieves are spotted outside the house, one holding what looks like a bag with a relay device inside to amplify the remote control signal.

Read more: Cheeky thieves steal Mercedes out of town in seconds

He reaches the front door when the signal sounds on the car’s engine, the thieves being able to start the car, the other thief jumping in and then leaving, all in just 20 seconds.

The owner of the car then runs away from home – but it is too late.

The owner of the car, Andrew Warner, a physical education teacher from Birmingham, had celebrated his birthday earlier in the evening, but then realized that his BMW 3 Series had been taken.

A car thief using a relay device approaches the house on Padstow Road in Erdington and can then use the signal from the key fob inside the house to start the car and start

The father of two told BirminghamLive: “I heard the car start and literally got out right away, but it was too late. I was literally behind the window on the couch, on the other side where you can see the thief.

“I contacted the police right away and they didn’t really say much. They put an ANPR [automatic number plate recognition] ask over there to say my car had been stolen.

He described the thieves as “the lowest of the lows”.

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He said: “It was actually my birthday that night – October 13th and it is happening.

“People work so hard to earn stuff. Honest people who work hard. You buy yourself something good and people think they can take what you work hard for in seconds.

“I think it’s contemptible that they could react like that and do that. It’s so easy to do that the neighbors wouldn’t have noticed.

The key fob signal inside the Padstow Road house is 'repeated' and used to start the car
The key fob signal inside the Padstow Road house is ‘repeated’ and used to start the car

Andrew, who works as a physical education teacher in the city, was transported by his partner to work, with co-workers driving him home. He said, “It’s just asking for favors right now. Otherwise it’s £ 20 in a cab.

They also had to juggle this to send their two children aged two and seven to school. He said his seven year old daughter said, ‘Has your car been stolen daddy. We tried to hide it from him. It is disheartening and overwhelming. “

The 38-year-old added: “It’s a little embarrassing but we are dealing with the problem.”

The thieves flee the scene in Padstow Road, Erdington and left the alley in about 20 seconds, disappearing into the night
The thieves flee the scene in Padstow Road, Erdington and left the alley in about 20 seconds, disappearing into the night

Andrew said that the new keyless car technology, while helping car owners, also made it easier for thieves. He said: “All the systems make it easier for the owner of the car, but also makes it easier for thieves. It is an easy crime for them.

“They are targeting cars that are easy to pick up. We live in a cul-de-sac – the only cars entering and exiting should be the people who live there or their visitors.

“It doesn’t help that it can be done in seconds. The Ring doorbell has a slight delay. By the time we noticed that there was movement on our route, they were turned off.

The physical education teacher said that since the incident was published, other people have been in contact and have video footage of attempted break-ins at other homes in the area. He said: “It looks like this area is being targeted.”

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands Police said: “Regarding the car theft at Padstow Road on October 14, we have it on file and we are reviewing it.”

Anyone with information can contact West Midlands Police via live chat on the force’s website, or by calling 101, and citing the crime reference: 20/1713012/21. Alternatively, she can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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