NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) - New York City is cracking down on ice cream trucks.
The owners avoided paying fines by transferring ownership of the trucks between dozens of fake companies. (Source: WCBS/CNN)
The NYPD said it is focusing on the companies and drivers who found ways to avoid paying millions of dollars in traffic fines.
In all, 46 ice cream trucks are being seized by the city.
The trucks are typically known for their sweet treats and the smiles that follow, not for running red lights, parking at fire hydrants and blocking crosswalks.
"That's terrible because if kids are running towards ice cream trucks but they're not stopping, or they're not stopping at red lights or stop signs, they could get run over," said Bryan Tejada, of Long Island City.
Mayor Bill De Blasio's Office said 46 truck drivers were doing just that and then, scamming their way out of paying $4.5 million in fines.
"It's not only the money, it's the deterrence factor,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. “Summonses act as a deterrence. If there's no deterrence, then there's no reason to follow any of the traffic laws."
The owners avoided paying fines by transferring ownership of the trucks between dozens of fake companies.
They were caught when the Department of Finance tried to collect those debts and learned the companies didn't exist.
The driver of Pete's Ices said he doesn't want this to give all ice cream trucks a bad name. He said obeying traffic laws is crucial - especially when children are involved.
"You put out your signs that say, ‘slow children crossing’ and you can't control how kids run but I've been doing this 21 years and I've never had a kid get hurt while I've been working,” Alex Sergiadis said.
Parents agree, saying truck drivers need to be extra cautious.
It's also a lot of money for the city.
The worst offenders are drivers each with more than $10,000 in fines.
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