During the final, humid days of summer, nothing quite takes the sting off back-to-school and earlier sunsets than a spoonful of quality, name-brand ice cream. But as chain stores displace local groceries in New York City,the price of that Cherry Garcia or Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean has soared alongside, reaching as much as $6 for just 16 oz. of creamy perfection.
Faced with these soaring prices, a group of young men in Manhattan have taken it upon themselves to steal from the price-gouging chain stores and redistribute ice cream to local bodegas, who tend to sell that delicious Phish Food for much less. The NYPD and chain store owners have not taken kindly to this supposed “redistribution” however.
The NYPD is currently on the lookout for three suspects who have been raiding chain stores for hundreds of high-end ice cream products. Notable incidents include lifting 100 cartons of Haagen-Dazs from a Lenox Hill Duane Reade, 60 Talenti’s from a Third Avenue CVS, and 90 Ben and Jerry’s from a CVS near NYU. And while the NYPD hasn’t explicitly said that the ice cream winds up back in neighborhood bodegas, billionaire grocery store owner John Catsimatidis has already offered a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of these merry men.
“They keep stealing it because it’s an easy item to sell,” Catsimatidis told the Post earlier this month. “The bodegas buy it, they encourage it.”
The alleged thieves have also made off with hundreds of cans of Red Bull and over a thousand dollars worth of cold medications.
A completely unscientific Village Voice survey of downtown ice cream vendors shows a significant markdown by bodegas in comparison to nearby chain stores. While Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs retailed at $6 in a Catsimatidis-owned Gristedes, bodegas were consistently selling the products for a dollar less. Same for area Duane Reades and Rite Aids.
Last week, the NYPD’s 19th precinct caught an ice cream thief “cold handed” (their joke, not ours) as they tried to make off with $103 worth of Haagen Dazs on the Upper East Side. The Haagen-Dazs social media account celebrated the apprehension, exclaiming, “Justice is served! May we all catch the ice cream thieves raiding our freezers.”
But what if the ice cream theft is the justice, and charging so much for ice cream the crime? What about that, Haagen-Dazs?