It sounded like something from an episode of “The X-Files”: Starting a few weeks ago, in a suburban neighborhood a few miles from a NASA research center in Ohio, garage door openers and car key fobs mysteriously stopped working.
Garage door repair people, local ham radio enthusiasts and other volunteer investigators descended on the neighborhood with various meters. Everyone agreed that something powerful was interfering with the radio frequency that many fobs rely on, but no one could identify the source.
Officials of North Olmsted, a city just outside Cleveland, began receiving calls about the problems in late April, Donald Glauner, the safety and service director for North Olmsted, said on Saturday.
In the weeks that followed, more than a dozen residents reported intermittent issues getting their car fobs and garage door openers to work. Most lived within a few blocks of one another in North Olmsted, though some were from the nearby city of Fairview Park.
Not every car fob failed to work, said Chris Branchick, whose parents live in North Olmsted. He said that whenever he visited his parents in his GMC vehicle, the fob would not unlock the car door; if he went in his fiancée’s Nissan, things were fine.
“We thought maybe it was a foreign versus domestic thing,” he said.
Officials from the cable company and AT&T joined the search for answers, and on Thursday, the Illuminating Company, a local electric utility, dispatched inspectors to investigate.
“They began by…