Philly sweeps streets for abandoned bikes before pope visit

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

PHILADELPHIA -- Sparks are flying in Philadelphia as crews use blowtorches and power saws to remove locked, abandoned bikes from poles and fences across the city.

The two-day sweep ending Thursday afternoon is an annual cleanup that's also part of the city's preparations for the pope's upcoming visit.

A spokeswoman for the mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities says 143 bikes are slated for removal. About 55 bikes had been seized as of Thursday morning.

Targeted bikes were tagged with warnings about two weeks ago to give owners the chance to move them.

Some of the abandoned rides will be given to a nonprofit that will rehab and donate them to local children.

Pope Francis will be visiting Philadelphia on Sept. 26 and 27.