FORT WAYNE — Officials are asking anyone who put a payment in the City Utilities payment drop box after Wednesday morning to ensure the payment was received after the drop box was broken into.
A City Utilities employee discovered Thursday morning when she went to retrieve overnight payments from the box, on East Berry Street north of Citizens Square, that it had been pried open, according to a police report.
The drop box secures payments for City Utilities, the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District, the Fort Wayne City Clerk’s office and Housing and Neighborhood Development Services.
City Utilities spokeswoman Mary Jane Slaton said there are typically about 100 payments in the box when it is emptied every morning; Thursday there were just a handful. Officials are concerned that customers’ account numbers and checking account numbers could be compromised. Customers are encouraged to call not only the city, but also their banks to alert them if they used the drop box since Wednesday.
“Certainly, we worry about the security of their information,” Slaton said.
City Utilities is asking anyone who may have dropped a payment in the box between 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday to call 427-1234 to confirm that the payment was received by customer service.
Since the box is built to be secure, officials were shocked someone was able to get inside.
“I understand it was pried open with some kind of tool,” Slaton said. “I was really surprised when I heard it had been compromised.”
Police were able to lift fingerprints from the door of the drop box and submitted them to be analyzed, a police report stated.
The drop box is currently closed while repairs are being made.
Customers wanting to make a payment can do so in person at Citizens Square between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., by phone through Choice Pay at 1-877-306-9265 or online at www.fortwaynecityutilities.com.
Anyone with any information about the break-in is asked to call the Fort Wayne Police Department at 427-1222 or Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.