Shoppers that parked at Lakeside Joondalup shopping centre in Perth’s suburbs could not open their cars over the past week due to suspected electromagnetic interference from a buzzer system.
Car owners that parked in part of the centre’s carpark reported problems with vehicle remote access, leading to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and WA Police being called in.
9News reported that a buzzer system in a pharmacy - which alerted people to their scripts being fulfilled - was thought to be the source of the interference.
Neither ACMA nor the centre's management have officially confirmed the source of the problems.
On Friday, the centre’s management said that it had “received feedback from customers regarding issues concerned with vehicle remote access in a small section of the centre’s carpark.”
“WA Police have investigated, and have advised us that they don’t believe suspicious activity is involved,” it said.
“We have been in contact with the ACMA, who suspect the disruption is caused by a device as simple as an internet router.
“Our operations team have set up a scanner to find the source of the frequency disruption.”
The centre said it had put on more security patrols to help customers that found themselves locked out of vehicles.
Fairfax reported that businesses in the complex were offering to help customers break into their own cars, with the shopping centre picking up the tab.
The ACMA and telcos often have to locate sources of interference with mobile signals. In one infamous example, a man’s backyard beer fridge was caught interfering with Telstra’s mobile network in 2013.