Hide your pints!

By Gillie Houston
Updated May 24, 2017
© McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

Some people steal money, others—as we learned recently—steal wine, and some steal dozens and dozens of pints of Häagen-Dazs. The latter was the case in a recent slew of New York grocery store thefts, in which the perps made off with enough ice cream for a world record-sized sundae.

John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner and CEO of the Gristedes Foods grocery chain, has put a $5,000 cash reward up for grabs to anyone with a tip on the dairy-loving duo who have been stealing from his stores' freezer aisles. According to the New York Post, Catsimatidis suspects the rogue ice cream thieves have been reselling the stolen cartons to bodegas on the cheap. "They keep stealing it because it's an easy item to sell... the bodegas buy it, they encourage it," he says.

The theft in question occurred at a Chelsea Gristedes location early last week, where the duo bagged up 80 cartons of Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs before attempting an exit. However, they were foiled when two of the store's clerks caught them, cornering the duo and even getting a picture of the pair on their cell phone before they got away.

According to New York City police, this case of ice cream high jinks is not an isolated incident. This year alone, there have been over 250 ice cream thefts reported in New York, and 130 arrests as a result. Thieves take the pints—which retail at the grocery store for $6—with the intent of reselling them to bodegas for an extremely low price. This frozen treat black market can also pose a health threat, as pints of ice cream often melt en route to the bodegas—creating a perfect environment for germs—before being refrozen and sold to customers. A telltale sign of this re-freezing? A layer of frost, indicating freezer burn.

Though Catsimatidis is still on the lookout for his culprits, he's hoping this will shed a light on the ice cream thieving operation. So, if you find yourself tempted by suspiciously low-priced pints at your corner store, beware.