Top Stories 2012: Keyless Remote Mystery Baffles Yonkers

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Eric Marden, manager at Marden Hardware, said the store suspected something was wrong when they started to get hundreds of requests for keyless remote batteries from stranded motorists.
Eric Marden, manager at Marden Hardware, said the store suspected something was wrong when they started to get hundreds of requests for keyless remote batteries from stranded motorists. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

YONKERS, N.Y. – As the end of 2012 nears, The Yonkers Daily Voice is taking a look back at some of the year's biggest stories.

For more than six months a mysterious force field blocked keyless car remotes and baffled drivers on a busy stretch of Yonkers Avenue.

The problem came to light in July when many who parked on Yonkers Avenue, between Orient Street and Page Avenue, began complaining they couldn’t use their remote devices to unlock car doors or start their engines.

But when the cars were pushed or towed a short distance, the devices would suddenly come back to life.

Eric Marden, manager at Yonkers Avenue’s Marden Hardware, said the store sold dozens of batteries for the remotes over the months before employees suspected something was going on. Eventually, the hardware store refused to sell the batteries to stranded motorists.

“We could have sold hundreds more,” Marden said at the time. “We had to tell people every day ‘you don’t need a new battery.’”

Area businesses said they were losing customers who refused to be left stranded again. The Yonkers Police Department ordered an investigation and notified the FCC and utility companies, police said. 

Shortly after the mystery zone gained attention, a Massachusetts radio frequency expert identified the problem as interference coming from a piece of malfunctioning lighting equipment used by the disc jockeys in the Duo Tapas Bar & Lounge at 748 Yonkers Ave.

Owner Ian Selner said he was just as baffled as everyone else by the phenomena and was surprised to learn the culprit was in his bar.

“I hated it when we found out that it was coming from our place, but I’m glad we figured out the problem,” he said.

After the device was unplugged, the Bermuda Triangle of car remotes was no more – welcome news for driver and business owners alike.  

“I’m just glad they found out what was going on,” said Vic Joseph, a clerk at the nearby Yonkers Mini Mart and Deli.

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