Police bust alleged ice cream thieves

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NEW YORK — An ice cream heist spree has been put on ice for a pair cops arrested over the weekend, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Mark Hicks, 37, and Ebony Gillian, 34, allegedly walked into the Chelsea Gristedes on Aug. 9 and tried to make off with 80 pints of ice cream stuffed into shopping carts and bags, police said. They had nearly $300 worth of Haagen-Dazs and nearly $200 worth of Ben & Jerry’s.

Store employees stopped the duo before they could make it out of the doors with the frozen treats, but the attempted theft prompted John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Gristedes, to offer a $5,000 reward for information on the thieves.

“Ice cream bandits are wreaking havoc on NYC supermarkets,”  Catsimatidis tweeted at the time.

There have been 250 complaints of ice cream thefts in 2016 as of Aug. 12, police said. There have been 130 arrests and police say they are working closely with retailers to combat the crime.

“My customers don’t have any ice cream because people are stealing ice cream,” Gristedes told PIX11.

Groups of three or four people have been walking into grocery stores, grabbing ice cream off of shelves and running without paying, Gristedes said. They then sell the ice cream to bodegas.

“I just got fed up and I put up a $5,000 reward,” Gristedes said.

Police scooped the pair up on Sunday night. They were arraigned Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court and charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Bail was set at $1,000 cash or $2,500 bond for both Hicks and Gillian, court documents show. The two are scheduled back in court on Aug. 26.