Like many large cities, New York has a long and storied history of crime.
But it turns out one of the city's most devious syndicates was hiding in plain sight all along.
Fortunately, the NYPD, in a massive sting operation known as "Operation Meltdown" finally stuck it to the villains involved: NYC's ice cream trucks.
New York City officials say that a group of ice cream truck operators schemed for years to avoid paying nearly $4.5… https://t.co/h4FevlhJXf— NPR (@NPR) 1559872023.0
In a press release, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained that many of the city's ice cream trucks had "violated traffic laws" and evaded paying fines for "nearly a decade."
To collect on the massive accumulated debt, beginning on Wednesday, June 5, the city started to seize 46 ice cream trucks.
I am absolutely living for this NYC ice cream truck drama https://t.co/y0vBDQLlGa— Laura Hudson (@Laura Hudson) 1560003010.0
The city of New York claims that from 2009 to 2017, various ice cream trucks accrued "22,000 summonses and nearly $4.5 million in fines for traffic violations." To avoid paying these fines, however, the truck's owners would quickly form shell companies, then re-register their trucks as being owned by the new company.
When the city's finance department went looking for the money they were owed, the company and truck who originally committed the violation would be long gone.
@NPR Good scoop— Mike (@Mike) 1559874857.0
The city wasn't going to let this stand, however. Many of the city's ice cream trucks have been known to block crosswalks and fire hydrants, causing safety hazards.
Zachary W. Carter, the city's corporation counsel, takes this all seriously:
"We all know from common experience that ice cream trucks are magnets for children. In order to protect this particularly vulnerable category of pedestrians, our traffic laws must be strictly enforced."
@NewsBreaking @newclyde2 Sorry kids!— Jason Rudd (@Jason Rudd) 1560121923.0
The city has issued a $10,000 lawsuit against the perpetrating parties, and Mayor DeBlasio issued a statement saying:
"No New Yorker is above the law—especially those who try to ignore public safety laws and create dangerous situations for pedestrians, bikers and drivers."
@NewsBreaking The Ice Cream Mafia.— Nobody in particular (@Nobody in particular) 1560126001.0
Many New Yorkers were glad to see the city's ubiquitous ice cream trucks being held to justice!
@laura_hudson I used to HATE those guys when I lived in NYC! One would park outside my building all damn day blast… https://t.co/livEUbM6DR— Sharktopussy (@Sharktopussy) 1560009758.0
Exciting update to this thread https://t.co/Jckeqrqq5p https://t.co/cwfgMoF1ZC— John Horton (@John Horton) 1560020327.0
Others, however, felt soft serve was above reproach.
@laura_hudson This is a Mister Softee town & any intrusion upon his realm is an attack on our identity— REIGN OF TERROR is coming (@REIGN OF TERROR is coming) 1560003522.0
@NPR No good humor, man.— johnclose (@johnclose) 1559929803.0
@NPR Back off the ice cream trucks already. In Los Angeles, unregulated street vendors are treasures. Fresh fruit,… https://t.co/jatok5dpcy— Chris Donnelly (@Chris Donnelly) 1559873330.0
On Twitter, many thought the city had better things to do than track down ice cream trucks for their parking violations.
@NPR Hardly a hard crime. It’s another way to pick the pockets of citizens. I’m sure they were causing serious harm.— Basia K (@Basia K) 1559874306.0
@NPR First they came for the hotdog carts, and we said nothing....— Angela P (@Angela P) 1559872283.0
@NPR maybe it's time to cut it out on the stupid traffic fees! it's ice cream man!— Obama-2020.com (@Obama-2020.com) 1559872175.0
It certainly was a lot of hubbub centered around some vanilla cones...
@NPR Thank God those criminal overlords were finally captured and brought to Justice. We can all sleep better now.— Schony (@Schony) 1559872253.0
However, after reading the details of the investigation, many had to admit this seemed like a worse offense than a single evaded parking ticket.
Justice is swift!
A rollercoaster from start to finish https://t.co/MZZiWsRGko— Mary Carol Butterfield (@Mary Carol Butterfield) 1560100697.0