Ice cream truck operators’ rivalry gets sticky

GLOVERSVILLE – Sno Cone Joe has been harassing rival Mr. Ding-A-Ling, city police say.

The two operators of the Sno Cone Joe ice cream trucks were charged Tuesday with stalking and harassing the operator of the Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck last month, police said.

Amanda C. Scott, 21, and Joshua V. Malatino, 34, both of the same Gloversville address, were charged with fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation.

Police said they were charged after an investigation into a complaint filed by the owner of the Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck. According to a news release, Malatino and Scott harassed and stalked the driver three times last month on three different streets: April 16, 19 and 28.

A police investigation found Scott and Malatino followed the rival truck, played their music at a high volume and yelled they had free ice cream in an attempt to draw customers away from the rival truck, police said.

Police said Malatino told the Mr. Ding-A-Ling driver Malatino’s business controls the ice cream sales market in Gloversville.

“We recorded every incident when we were in the same neighborhood of that truck, so everything will come out in the end,” Malatino said Wednesday afternoon.

He declined to comment further and directed all additional questions to the pair’s lawyer.

“He will let you know that there is a whole bunch of evidence and big thing of harassment with the chief of police documented,” Malatino said.

The lawyer did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Police Capt. John Sira said as long as a truck vendor acquires a permit from the city clerk, the vendor is permitted to sell products in the city.

“It is a wide-open market,” Sira said.

Both ice cream trucks have permits to operate in the city, said Deputy City Clerk Cindy Ostrander.

Sira said the issue is not necessarily new because the same problem occurred last year.

“In the spring, the chief had a meeting with (Malatino) and his attorney advising him if we had a recurrence of this type of behavior from last year, this year we would be looking into sanctioning them,” Sira said.

“This was brought to light by one of our patrol officers observing some of this behavior and contacting Mr. Ding-A-Ling inquiring if this has been ongoing, and we followed up from there,” Sira added.

Sira said the owner of Mr. Ding-A-Ling is a local man in his 50s. Sira declined to provide the man’s name because it is the department’s policy never to give the name of a victim.

“He hasn’t done anything to require this level of attention,” Sira said. “He was doing nothing wrong.”

Levi Pascher is a reporter for the Leader-Herald, based in Gloversville.