It is thought to be one of the first examples in Leeds of a BMW being targeted for its M Sport steering wheel, a crime being reported widely in the UK and across mainland Europe.
The BMW X1 had been parked overnight on the driveway of David Law’s home in Westcombe Avenue, Roundhay, when the thieves struck earlier this month.
Mr Law, 33, said there was no sign of any damage to the vehicle and it was only when he went to put his young daughter in the back of the car that he realised anything was amiss.
“There was no sign of a break-in, no alarms going off or anything like that,” he said.
“I leaned over the driver’s seat and saw the steering wheel missing and the paperwork on the seat. It was as if to say ‘you’re going to need it’.”
Baffled that only a pair of sunglasses and a steering wheel were taken, he soon found articles online about the theft of M Sport steering wheels for resale on the black market.
“When I called the police, that particular operator said it was the first they had heard of it,” Mr Law said.
“I just got a crime number and they said that without any physical evidence like blood or body fluid, they couldn’t really do anything to follow up.”
He said he was concerned that it had been so easy to break into the car and wanted other owners to be aware.
“We’ve asked BMW if there’s anything we can actually do to stop this happening again,” he said. “They’ve said they can’t do anything to protect against vehicle theft.”
BMW did not provide a response for publication.