Could Tom Cruise have saved his suitcase?

01 Sep 2021
BY Dave Salisbury

Could Tom Cruise have saved his suitcase?

Hollywood megastar – Tom Cruise – got a nasty shock whilst filming ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ in Birmingham recently. Apparently, the actor was more than a little miffed when told that his BMW X7 had been whisked away by some tech-savvy thieves, and even more irate when he realised that he had left thousands of pounds worth of luggage in the vehicle.

The vehicle was later recovered; however Mr Cruise’s belongings are still on the run. So, how did the thieves break in and could Tom have done anything to save his suitcase? Possibly…

The break-in

Normally, these high-tech thieves will clone the key to access the vehicle. Most modern cars will have keyless entry but criminals can now clone the signal to open the car. What they do is when they see an attractive, high-value vehicle, they’ll wait until the owner leaves the car, locks it and then as they’re walking away the thief will walk past the unsuspecting driver and wirelessly grab the remote code and clone it. Pretty impressive; also pretty scary! This is probably the scenario that happened to our visiting Hollywood A-lister.

Suitcase security

I would never recommend leaving valuables in a car, but if that’s your only option then the first thing I’d be looking at is where to leave the vehicle and what to do to protect both it and the belongings inside.

Parking on the street. Always try and park near – or as close as possible to – CCTV cameras if you absolutely can’t use a car park or there isn’t one nearby. That way if the worst comes to worst at least the police have images of the car thieves, they have a time stamp of when the theft happened and they know in which direction the thieves drove off.

Parking in a secure car park. Car parks nowadays normally have automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to allow them to only let certain pre-booked (or vehicles with tickets) in or out of the car park. They’ll also have CCTV coverage and the majority will also have a security guard that patrols the car park on a scheduled basis. Some of them also have rising bollards or barriers to stop unauthorised vehicles exiting or entering the car park.

They’re also very well lit – people generally don’t like being fully illuminated when they’re up to no good, so lights can be a powerful deterrent to vehicle theft and crime.

Dashcams. Many of the new dashcams now work on motion and have a theft alert installed, so if your car is parked securely in a car park and someone walks past it or near to it, the motion triggers the camera to record for 30 seconds (or your own pre-set duration). If someone does break into the vehicle or damages it there will be a recording of the crime and a possible positive identification of the criminal.

Technology. What about the luggage? Apple have just released Apple AirTags, which are small Bluetooth trackers (handy for putting in suitcases) that link to your own iPhone and then use other iPhones in the area to establish a location of the item the tracker is protecting. Even if it loses connection with your phone it uses other iPhones by pinging off them to locate the stolen item (possible to within a very small area). They’re also great for things like wallets, keys and handbags.

Choose you area. If you’re going to park your car on the street make sure it’s a good area!


So, Mr Cruise, while we’re very sorry you had this experience in Birmingham, we do hope you visit again. If you do, your mission should you choose to accept it is to find location: 52.47862000960131, -1.8974233264660456.


Dave Salisbury, Managing Director, Zicam Integrated Security Limited.


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