Chicago bike riders: Watch for `sucker poles` to avoid theft - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Chicago bike riders: Watch for `sucker poles` to avoid theft

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A warning for people who commute by bike: Thieves have a new slick way of stealing your ride. They're targeting bikes that appear to be securely locked with things called "sucker poles."

If you've ever ridden a bike or owned one in Chicago, you're concerned about bike theft, a far too common occurrence in our city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago to be a bike-friendly city. He had new protected lanes installed in the last year, as well as Divvy bike sharing stations set up throughout. Experienced and novice riders now have about 200 miles of lanes to traverse.

With the increase of riders in Chicago, the chance for theft also rises – and they're getting more inventive. The offenders are using power tools to remover the bolts on poles and street signs, lifting them right out of the ground and sweeping bikes away. "Sucker pole" seems just too apt a name.

The Neighborhood Watch group in Lincoln Park said kids ride around the area, looking for bikes to steal. Sometimes they can make off with a bike because the parts are worthwhile.

But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. One of the best ways to avoid bike theft with what you have? Lock it to a bike rack - properly. Although they are far and few between in some areas, looking for one is worth the time.

Chicago police said you can register your bike to get a serial number - make sure you know the serial number in case yours gets stolen. Customize your bike, so that it is easier to identify if stolen. Take a picture of your bike so that you can identify it if it ever gets back to you.

You can report bike theft on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry.

According to statistics on the site, 94 bikes stolen were locked to a street sign and 158 were linked to a pole type of fence just last year.

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