Bike Theft Gangs Using 'Sucker Poles' to Steal Bikes Across the City | DNAinfo Chicago

A bike locked to a "sucker pole" in Lincoln Park is easy pickings, especially since the front tire is not locked.

On a sunny Wednesday morning as moms, kids and workers walked along Halsted Street, a bike thief worked in plain sight.

It was as easy as lifting a tow zone sign right out of its base, slipping the U-lock off the metal pole and riding off with the lock still attached to the frame of the bike.

Couldn't have been more than 10 seconds.

"He had the pole in his hand when I saw him, and he had it up in the air," said Kathy McInerney, a 24-year-old Lincoln Park resident. "He threw it back down into the [base], and he just hopped right on [the bike and went] down Lill."

McInerney called the cops and gave them a description of the hooded thief, but he was long gone.

The bike was attached to a "sucker pole," according to Howard Kaplan, founder of the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry.

Thieves will remove the bolts that secure street sign poles to their bases, allowing them to easily lift the poles out of the base later. Unsuspecting riders don't notice the missing bolts, and lock their bikes to the poles, falsely thinking they'll be secure.

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