FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Residents in a Fort Wayne neighborhood found flyers taped to the outside of their mailboxes Monday. It was a notice from a crew offering to paint house numbers on curbs. But the way the group is collecting money has raised red flags for police, homeowners, and the Better Business Bureau.
The notices were taped on the outside of every mailbox in the Waterside Woods neighborhood, near Covington Road on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. The notes stated that a crew would be coming through the neighborhood Tuesday to paint house numbers on curbs. Homeowners were told to put the payment in an envelope and tape it to their front doors.
Whoever wrote the flyer said curb painting is highly recommended by the city. For $20, a crew would paint black house numbers with a white background on the curb. But for $25 the crew would paint the house numbers with colors of your favorite sports team.
Fort Wayne police confirm that painting house numbers on curbs near a driveway is recommended for crime prevention. But Officer Michael Joyner said only black and white paint is recommended. Sports logos would be considered graffiti.
Tom Antisdel is the president of the Waterside Housing Association. When he saw all the notices on his neighborhood’s mailboxes, he urged residents to do some checking before handing out money.
“It was extremely unusual because the piece of paper was obviously hand torn. It wasn’t very professional. You didn’t have an invoice or anything. It had a regular envelope to it. It was taped to the mailbox. It just seemed really out of character,” Antisdel said. “I think common sense prevails something like that…is just not kosher.”
A crew doing the same service received several complaints in the Oak Pointe neighborhood in northeast Allen County, according to Craig Kozlowski. Kozlowski is the property manager for both Waterside Woods and Oak Pointe. He said the crew went door-to-door and was very aggressive, not taking no for an answer. Kozlowski told 15 Finds Out it got to a point where he threatened to call the police on the painting crew.
It’s unclear who issued the notices in Waterside Woods Monday. The only hints are checks should be made payable to someone named “Locke.” The crew also listed the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The email address could lead potential customers to believe the service is connected with the Northwest Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, located in Washington state. A representative with that organization told 15 Finds Out it is not involved with any sort of curb painting in Indiana.
After looking at a copy of the notice, Marjorie Stephens, president/CEO of the Northern Indiana Better Business Bureau, urged residents not to give money to people soliciting in a similar fashion.
“It just does not add up,” Stephens said.