It was a mystery no one could solve — until now.
For months, dozens of people could not use their keyless entry systems to unlock or start their cars whenever they parked near the Hollywood Police Department. Once the cars were towed to the dealers, the problem miraculously disappeared.
Police have since cracked the case.
Turns out the problem wasn’t with the cars, the batteries or even user error, but an illegal pirate radio station that was jamming the signal from keyless entry systems of several makes of cars, including Lexus and Toyota. The man behind the bootleg operation likely had no idea it would lock people out of their cars, police say.
Lynn Jacobson, who lives on Van Buren Street a mile west of police headquarters, was frustrated for months trying to get into her car.
“It was happening every day,” Jacobson said. “We were getting desperate. It got to where every time I went out to the car I’d say, ‘Please let it open.'”
Detectives are still searching for the man who set up the bootleg station on the roof of the eight-story Regents bank building at 450 Park Road, a block north of police headquarters. The station was broadcasting Caribbean music around the clock through 104.7 FM, police say.
If found, the man could be arrested on felony charges and face a fine of at least $10,000 from the Federal Communications Commission. [Continue reading...]
Note that it’s not just pirate stations that unintentionally jam keyless entry. I know an AM broadcaster on 1290 kHz that blocks keyless entry on many GM cars for a one mile radius around their tower. Doesn’t seem to bother Toyota, though. Guess they prefer FM pirates.