'Meter Beater' Arrested For Weekend Parking Meter Assault

Perhaps he couldn't take it anymore.

The quadrupled meter rates, having to the feed the meters until 9 every night, seven days a week, no free Sundays anymore, and the increased enforcement--perhaps it was all too much for him.

Maybe he was broke and needed some change for the bus. Maybe he just got one too many parking tickets. Or maybe he really loathed and despised that particular parking meter.

Whatever it was that drove this man to take a standard sized concrete cinder block and repeatedly slam the meter head for ten minutes, we may never know.

The casually dressed young man, who looked to be in his late twenties, walked up to the parking meter on the 3300 block of N. Lincoln. Ave. around 1:30 last Saturday afternoon and began assaulting it with the concrete block.

Wham! Wham! Wham! Shocked and puzzled onlookers passed by while he repeatedly pummeled the crap out of the meter head and pole.

"Did the meter eat your quarter?" one bystander asked while walking by.

With a brief shake of his head, the clearly agitated man continued his punishment of the meter. Pieces of concrete continued to crack and chip off the main cinder block, eventually breaking it into two main pieces.

The assailant, sweating from exertion in the relatively mild temperatures, stripped off his shirt and then redoubled his attack on the meter, using the larger of the two pieces.

Finally, after about ten minutes of this attack, a Chicago police car raced to the scene with siren blaring and lights flashing. Despite the approaching siren, the man continued for a few moments, but then quickly dropped his weapon and ran around the corner, north down Marshfield Ave. and into the Lakeview YMCA located at 3333 N. Marshfield.

Four squad cars descended on the scene and pursued the meter beater into the YMCA.

The man, apparently a YMCA resident, was removed from the building, yelling and sporting bruises and marks on his shirtless torso.

"Something was definitely wrong with him," Joe, a laid off CTA worker and YMCA resident, said about the meter assailant's psychological state. "I'm a newer resident and keep to myself so I don't really know him."

Lakeview YMCA Executive Director Brian Page and Residence Director John Carolan, had no comment about the incident.

According to Chicago municipal law, it is illegal to damage a city parking meter:

9-80-150 Parking meters - Damage prohibited - Interference with intent to park without paying or obtain coins unlawful.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to deface, injure, tamper with, open or wilfully break, destroy or impair the usefulness of any parking meter. Every person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be punished by a fine of $250.00.

Department of Revenue spokesman Ed Walsh says the city is not shy about prosecuting persons who damage parking meters.

"It is considered to be serious," says Walsh. "We'd probably view this (incident) as attempted vandalism. When it is out and out vandalism, it doesn't occur very often and most incidents involve someone sticking something in the meter slot."

The most incredible detail of the story is, despite ten minutes of constant battering with a 30 pound rock, the parking meter did not break and continues to function normally at 15 minutes per quarter.

Check out The Expired Meter for even more information and advice about parking, fighting parking tickets and red light tickets in Chicago.