A serial car hijacker who targeted new BMWs in a crime spree spanning three years has been jailed for an effective 25 years.

Owen Serero‚ 37‚ was eventually tripped up when he was arrested for being part of an alleged attempted murder conspiracy with Czech mobster Radovan Krejcir.

National Police commissioner Khehla Sitole said on Thursday: “I am confident that this convict will never see the outside of prison.”

Police said Serero’s modus operandi included tracing new BMWs and hijacking them‚ either when they were being dropped off or picked up at BMW dealerships.

“His reign of terror lasted between 2011 and 2014. He was arrested during that period‚ but managed to escape from lawful custody while appearing in Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court‚” said a statement from Sitole’s office.

He was arrested in January 2014 for allegedly being part of a conspiracy to kill investigators in the then case against Krejcir. That case will return to court in October.

The Johannesburg Regional Court sentenced Serero to 45 years on three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and five years on one count of kidnapping.

“The court ordered that some of his sentences run concurrently and he will therefore serve an effective 25 years imprisonment‚” said SAPS.