For weeks, customers of a grocery store in the small town of Carstairs, Alberta, have been plagued by a mysterious something that has hindered them from driving their cars.
CBC News reports that several people who have used the parking lot of the town’s Westview Co-op have reported their key fobs stopped working or their cars wont start. Additionally, some car alarms have gone off for seemingly no reason.
The Canadian news outlet spoke to Laura Strate, who works at a dollar store across the street from the grocery store. Strate has recently sold batteries to several people who came to her store trying to fix their key fobs, before realising a new battery does not fix the issue. “It’s just bizarre. People are actually scared to go to the co-op now because they don’t know if their cars are going to start,” Strate said. “We joke around here in Carstairs, ‘Yeah, put your tin foil hats on.’”
Westview isn’t much closer to uncovering the source of the problem than when it first began. “I think it is frustrating,” Westview asset protection manager, Stephen Kennedy, told CBC. “To see the level of frustration for our team and our guests is where our concern is. That’s why we are taking extra steps to ensure we are driving the solution.”
The store enlisted the help of local electrician company J. Williams Electric. But when Westview tried shutting off the power on Monday night, their testing equipment still showed an unusual interference.
The next day, Westview put out a notice on Facebook to its customers, updating them that the store’s power source was not the issue, and that wifi also could not be the problem since the store does not have wifi.
The issue has become such a problem in the town that Westview is seeking federal assistance. “We have partnered with neighbours, stakeholders and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development,” Kennedy told CBC. “The location is unknown so we’re just waiting for followup from the ministry.”
The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development did not respond to a Gizmodo request for comment. When Gizmodo called the Carstairs location of Westview, an employee sighed heavily and referred us to Kennedy, who did not immediately return our call.