The Hollywood superstar — in the UK filming scenes for Mission: Impossible 7 — was “hopping mad” when he learned of the high-tech theft.
After the expensive car was parked outside a Birmingham hotel, crooks used a scanner to clone the signal from the keyless ignition fob.
And the deception allowed the group to drive away with the automobile under the noses of the movie icon’s elite security squad, befitting of the gadget-packed MI movie series.
“Tom had been driving around in the car while in Birmingham, and some of his bags and things were inside when it was taken,” a source told the Sun.
“It’s since been recovered by police because it was equipped with an electronic tracking device but everything inside it had gone.
“It’s a huge embarrassment for the security team and the guy who had been driving it was hopping mad — but not as mad as Tom!”
Tom, 59, was spotted earlier in a Birmingham shopping mall filming sequences for the latest MI film with actress Hayley Atwell, 39. The BMW X7 vanished from its parking spot early on Wednesday, according to the bodyguard in charge of the star’s security crew in the city.
The criminals were able to steal the black car in minutes after intercepting the fob signal after it was left outside the Grand Hotel, which is within a two-minute walk from West Midlands Police HQ, according to sources. The new automobile is not believed to have been parked in the hotel’s recommended secure, barrier-protected car park, which is an eight-minute walk away.
While shooting sequences in and around Birmingham, the security had been driving the Top Gun actor around in the powerful BMW limo — which can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds.Tom has been commuting by helicopter from a beautiful Kent mansion where he has been staying throughout filming, and the automobile has been on standby to pick him up.
High Tech Thieves
Wireless transmitters have made modern cars that use keyless entry and ignition fobs increasingly vulnerable to “relay thieves.” Signals are captured by having the target car send a message to the keyless fob.
The signal is then captured by an accomplice standing close to the vehicle, deceiving the automobile into thinking the key is within range, allowing it to be unlocked.
Once the accomplice is inside the vehicle, the process can be repeated to start the engine and a blank fob programmed via the vehicle’s computer port.
Alternatively, the robbers might have jammed the driver’s fob by emitting the same radio frequency used to lock the car, providing access to the vehicle’s computer hardware. Tom has been filming in various locations across the UK, and he recently astonished guests by stopping in for a curry at Asha’s Indian Restaurant in Birmingham.
In between shoots, Tom and his co-stars laughed and waved to spectators at the city’s railway station, which was turned into Abu Dhabi Airport for filming.
A train was filmed falling over the brink of a cliff at the disused Darlton Quarry in Derbyshire. The movie heartthrob, who plays Ethan Hunt in the money-making action espionage films franchise, was also on site. Within hours after the theft, BMW was said to have sent Tom with an identical replacement vehicle.
Last night, the studio behind the new MI film, Paramount Pictures, declined to comment.
A police spokeswoman said: “We received a report of a BMW X7 stolen from Church Street, Birmingham in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The car was recovered a short time later in Smethwick. CCTV enquiries have been made in the area that the car was recovered from. Inquiries are ongoing.”