2011 BMW X3 Bomb Scare in New York

Responsible citizens, unite! If there was ever any doubt the 9/11 attacks and the world that followed didn't do much to turn inert citizens into unforgiving crime fighters, then the incident we'll tell about you here is sure to shatter all disbelieve.

Last Sunday, Martin Birkmann, a manager for BMW of North America, was driving around New York in an unusual BMW: a prototype of the X3, neatly wrapped in a black cloth on the interior and vinyl camo on the outside, meant to hide the changes compared to the current model year. For those who don't now yet, this is a common practice for manufacturers testing new vehicles...

Once near the American Museum of Natural History, Birkmann parked the X3, got out of the car together with his girlfriend and off he went for a picnic in Central Park. The car was left parked, camoed and... with the engine running.

Here's where the responsible passer-by comes in. The unnamed man or woman called the police, after seeing the weird-looking vehicle parked with the engine running and with no one inside.

As usual in such cases, police and the bomb squad quickly arrived to the scene. Central Park was closed from 77th to 81st Streets for some 90 minutes, while the Museum was sealed (no evacuation, though). The police smashed the prototype's rear window, gained access to the interior, looked, checked and rechecked, but found no bomb. Fortunately...

Birkmann was fined for leaving his car running, while BMW North America spokeswoman Stacy Morris told this was only an "unfortunate misunderstanding".

There are, of course, several aspects of this story which don't add-up. Firstly, Birkmann reportedly left the car running for two reasons, depending on the source you hear the story from: either he didn’t press the correct button on his key fob to remotely turn off the engine, or he didn't notice the car was still running, as, ohh, it runs so silently...

Now, being a manager for BMW of North America would pretty much mean you know how the cars you're selling work, so we can rule out pressing the wrong button on the key fob. As for the silent engine which can trick you, well, that's possible, but unlikely because of the reason mentioned above.

Secondly, as far as the passer-by goes, he/she, of course, did the right thing calling the police. One piece of advice though, for future reference: terrorists try to blend in, not jump into the spotlight, so you might wanna look for bombs in ordinary cars from now, not in the ones screaming "look at me, hey, look, look, I'm different, there must be something wrong..."

And thirdly... They give you a ticket for leaving the car running in New York?!
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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