Ice cream thieves have been wreaking havoc in New York, and one billionaire grocery store owner is so fed up that he’s put a price on their heads.
According to the New York Post, Gristede’s owner and billionaire John Catsimatidis is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the gang of criminal masterminds who have been running off with all his ice cream.
Earlier this week, a man and a woman somehow made off with 90 cartons of Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from the Gristedes on 9th Avenue in New York. That couple was caught, but this sort of thing has reportedly been going on for a long time. The ice cream sells for about $6 in grocery stores, but the stolen containers can reportedly be resold to bodegas for 10 cents a container, and the bodegas then reportedly sell it for $5 or so.
Ice cream would not seem like a good product to steal. It melts quickly when it’s hot out, and it is hot out. It’s heavy. It’s cold, and it’s hard to carry. One would think thieves would go after something lighter weight and more uniform in shape, like maybe boxes of tampons, but apparently there is a big secondhand market for stolen ice cream. Catsimatidis says he thinks the thieves have been stealing the ice cream and reselling it to bodegas, which sell it to customers as though it were a legally obtained dessert.
“They keep stealing it because it’s an easy item to sell,’’ Catsimatidis said. “The bodegas buy it. They encourage it.”
The problem with that is the fact that ice cream is hard to transport. It does melt, and when ice cream melts and is refrozen, it can start to harbor unpleasant bacteria. Even if that does not happen, the refreezing can cause the ice cream to get ice crystals and cease to be creamy and delicious.