A prototype BMW caused a bomb scare on the Upper West Side of Manhattan Sunday morning after the driver covered the vehicle with a tarp and left the engine running.
An alert passerby called the police after noticing the vehicle, a SUV, was parked directly in front of the main entrance of the Museum of Natural History on West 77th Street, the New York Post reported.
Within minutes, a bomb-squad team arrived, smashed the rear and side passenger windows, and determined the vehicle posed no threat.
Police sources identified the driver as Martin Birkmann, a BMW brand manager and test driver. .
Birkmann didn’t press the correct button on his key fob to remotely turn off the engine to his car, and it runs so silently that he didn’t even notice it was still on when he left, a source said.
He then enjoyed a picnic for several hours in Central Park with his girlfriend.
Birkmann, speaking with a thick German accent, later declined comment to the Post.
Police issued him a summons for idling his vehicle.
During the height of the scare, police discussed evacuating the museum, but they ditched that plan after determining the vehicle didn’t pose any threat.
Tourists alternately took snapshots of the police as they worked and actor Michael Douglas, who was in the crowd.
Police have reported an uptick in suspicious packages and other suspected bombs in the wake of the failed May 1 Times Square car bomb.