It is so hot in New York City, thieves are using their sticky fingers to purloin summer treats — pints and pints of ice cream. So far in 2016, there have been about 130 arrests for ice cream related thefts.
One Gotham billionaire has had enough of this injustice. John Catsimatidis, the owner of supermarket chain Gristedes, is offering a $5,000 bounty for the arrest of an alleged pair of ice cream thieves, caught on a cellphone camera pilfering Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s by the cartload.
As heists go, the execution is simple. One person distracts the store manager while accomplices load up bags or shopping carts with ice cream. There is the occasional mad dash for the door, or the ice cream is pilfered in small batches over the course of an hour. The thieves will resell the ice cream at nearby bodegas or corner stores.
“They keep stealing it because it’s an easy item to sell,” said Catsimatidis, a failed mayoral candidate.
It would almost be amusing, but grocery stores are taking a hit and health officials worry about bacteria as the cartons are en route to bodegas.
CVS, Duane Reade and other supermarkets have also been targeted. One CVS store manager said he saw the brazen theft of nearly 150 ice cream cartons, worth about $935. The crime spree goes back to last fall and has persisted through February, when police caught seven people with a $1,683 dairy haul.
According to a police source, the bodegas buy the ice cream for 10 cents on the dollar.
“If the bodega owner wants to collect $5,000, maybe he can work out a deal with police department,” Catsimatidis said. “But he’s a bad guy too for buying it.”