Shoplifters are running so wild in the Big Apple that pints of high-end ice cream now have special locked lids to thwart cold-hearted crooks.
The Fairway supermarket on the Upper West Side is guarding $6 cartons of Häagen-Dazs with bolted plastic tops — which can only be removed with a device at the register — as other shops padlocked freezers of the treats.
A sign at Fairway gives shoppers the scoop on why there’s now a barrier on the popular summertime sweets.
“To help maintain the lowest possible cost, a protective lock has been placed on some units of ice cream,” it reads.
“This lock will be removed at checkout by a store associate. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Customers at the store, at Broadway and 74th Street, called the goodie-guarding gadget a sign of the times.
“This is the age we live in now, unfortunately. This is the New York that we know,” said a producer, who was shopping in the freezer section Friday.
“This has nothing to do with anything other than people coming in and ripping off places that are trying to make money.”
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A cashier informed The Post the ice cream is dropped off with the clear locked lids already in place, and that they can be removed with a round plastic device.
“It’s pretty easy to come off with what we use,” the worker said.
The convenience store installed a chain across a freezer door with a padlock to safeguard tubs of Breyers along with Oreo Cookie ice cream sandwiches and other frozen desserts.
“People used to come with garbage bags and fill up the garbage bags with ice cream. Clear out our freezers,” an employee at the shop said.
The Duane Reade on East 53rd Street and Third Avenue also started padlocking a freezer to stop thieves from stealing ice cream such as Haagen-Daz and Magnum bars, a worker there told The Post.
“We had to put the locks on because people kept stealing our Red Bull and Ice cream out the fridge,” the employee said.
The CVS on Second Avenue and 51st Street in Midtown also had built-in locks placed on freezer doors last month, which customers called inconvenient.
“Having to wait for an available worker to get my ice cream is a turn off,” one shopper Martin, 53, told The Post.
Shopkeepers are shrieking over ice cream bandits as overall shoplifting rates climb citywide — with 13,738 retail thefts reported in the first quarter of 2023, the most recent available NYPD data.
By contrast, an average of just 8,750 retail thefts were reported quarterly in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the city, according to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The shoplifting dilemma was driven in part by the state’s controversial 2019 bail reform law, which mandates judges to cut loose criminals who commit misdemeanors and some nonviolent felonies, critics say.
The soft-on-crime approach promotes repeat theft, according to police — who reported that nearly a third of all shoplifting busts last year involved the same 327 people, who were rearrested thousands of times.
Sweet-toothed swindlers have pulled ice cream heists in the Big Apple for years, often loading the loot into freezer bags with dry ice, then reselling them at bodegas for cheap, police have said.
“Before you know it, all our groceries will be locked up and we’ll have to go through a security check just to buy food,” said Abby, 34, who was shopping for ice cream at Fairway Friday.
“Wow this is new,” she said, gesturing towards the locked lid. “I feel bad that they have to even do this.”
Last year, a serial ice cream thief was busted after strolling out of the upscale Morton Williams market at East 22nd Street and Park Avenue South with 20 pints of Haagen-Dazs, according to police.
NYC grocers have been using cameras with face-ID technology to identify shoplifters Democrats won't prosecute anyway. Now Democrats want to ban grocers from using that tech because it may lead to false hits for darker skinned people. Grocers forced to continue taking real hits.🧵 pic.twitter.com/sXYkFGV8Z0
— Frank DeScushin (@FrankDeScushin) June 20, 2023
NYC crime thread: (1) CVS management tells security staff to NOT intervene with shoplifters other than being friendly. (2) UES shoplifter slashes 63-year-old security guard at CVS https://t.co/yhFFbKZGGe via @nypmetro
— A. Michael Altman (@artmaltman) June 22, 2023
New York city Wallgreens is being robbed by a man with a blow torch. It is getting bad. pic.twitter.com/nepqY5OSlK
— Cyndi (@OffCyndisc) June 23, 2023