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46 Ice Cream Trucks Seized In Crackdown

The New York City government left the city in an "ice cream drought" after seizing 46 ice cream trucks on Wednesday.

In the sting operation labelled "Operation Meltdown", the city accused ice cream vendors of breaking traffic laws and avoiding almost $6.5 million (U.S.$4.5 million) in fines over a decade.

The city said ice cream truck owners created dozens of 'shell' companies from 2009 to 2017 to evade 22,000 summonses for traffic violations including running red lights, parking illegally and blocking pedestrian sidewalks.

“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,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote in a statement.

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“For years, these owners have ignored public safety laws and have driven dangerously in one of the busiest areas of the City,” he said.

Thirty-four of the 46 trucks were towed on Wednesday morning, and the other 12 are being sought, according to city officials.

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A Department of Finance investigation found the debtors never had bank accounts, and company information no longer existed when the Department attempted to get in contact.

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The order requires the ice cream truck vendors to pay damages and prevents them from transferring the ownership of the vehicles that have outstanding parking summons.

"We all know from common experience that ice cream trucks are magnets for children, " said Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter.

"In order to protect this particularly vulnerable category of pedestrians, our traffic laws must be strictly enforced," Carter said.

Contact Eden on Twitter @edengillespie