People have been complaining that something’s been zapping the power out of their key fobs, draining their car batteries and triggering their alarms in a parking lot outside the Westview Co-op grocery store in Carstairs, a small town about 40 miles north of Calgary.
“People are actually scared to go to the co-op now because they don’t know if their cars are going to start,” said Laura Strate, a longtime employee at the dollar store across the street from the co-op.
Strate said that people come into her store to buy replacement batteries for their fobs because they assume a simple switch-out will work.
The curious case has local electricians stumped.
“I think it is frustrating,” Stephen Kennedy, the store’s asset protection manager, told CBC News. “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.”
So far, electricians have tried shutting down the power. The goal: to rule out the possibility that the problem is arising from the building or the parking lot.
They’ve also tested the equipment. And still, they can’t figure out what’s causing the eerie outages.
“Last night (January 28) we shut off all power sources in our store and the testing equipment revealed that the interference was still being emitted. This means we are confident that the signal is not coming from the Carstairs Food Store. In addition, please note the Carstairs Food Store does not have WI-FI, so that is not a possible source,” Westview Co-operative posted Tuesday on Facebook.
Mystified, Westview has turned to the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Electronic Development to shed light on the problem.
As the investigation gets underway, locals are floating a few theories of their own.
“We joke around here in Carstairs, ‘Yeah, put your tin foil hats on,'” Strate said.
So far, people have speculated that the outages could be a byproduct of a recently installed security system, a nearby Tim Hortons fast-food business that opened last month, ongoing highway construction, or the demolition of a hardware building.