Carjacking a Mercedes-Benz M class proved to be a critical mistake for the alleged Boston Marathon bombers. When the driver escaped and called police, officers were able to track the vehicle using the crossover's factory-installed GPS system.
Police decline to give details, but Mercedes-Benz USA confirmed it was contacted April 19 during the hunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Mercedes was asked to help find the vehicle using the Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance function on the crossover's mbrace telematics system.
After authenticating the request, Mercedes turned on the tracking feature, said spokeswoman Donna Boland. "The authorities asked that mbrace be activated and ... it was," she said.
Last week Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon proudly tweeted: "Just found out that our mbrace2 technology in the stolen Mercedes helped locate the Boston terrorists! Thanks to our amazing law enforcement."
Boland said that the vehicle was a 2013 ML350, and that the owner's mbrace subscription was active. She declined to provide more details.
According to a Boston Globe story that cited "the marvels of the Mercedes-Benz ML 350," the 26-year-old carjacking victim got free from his leased Mercedes at a filling station. When officers took his story, he told them the car could be tracked by his iPhone and the Mercedes satellite system.
The shootout in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed occurred about an hour later.