6,865,000 pageviews

Monday, July 25, 2022

Ice Cream Truck Wars: Sno Cone Joe Versus Mr. Ding-A-Ling

     When imagining men who sell ice cream products out of good humor trucks one envisions jolly Mr. Rogers types dressed in white. But why would mobile ice cream vendors be any different than people who drive taxi cabs, UPS trucks and buses. Not that there's anything wrong with those folks.

     In the 1970s and 80s Robert Pronge, the driver of a New Jersey Mister Softee's Truck moonlighted as a contract killer. Pronge became known for his use of cyanide to complete many of his assignments. (He dropped the poison in his targets' whiskey and beer, not their Mister Softee cones.) On occasion, however, he'd keep his victims cooling in his Mr. Softee truck until he could permanently dispose of their corpses. The hit man, referred to in certain circles as "Mr. Softee", ended up being murdered by Richard Kuklnski, the prolific Gambino family contract killer known as the "Ice Man." Mr. Kuklnski had introduced "Mr. Softee" to the idea of using cyanide as a murder weapon. In all probability Robert Pronge is the only hit man in history who hauled his dead bodies around in an ice cream truck. But compared to Richard Kuklnski who killed more than 200 men for money, "Mr. Softee" was an amateur. "Ice Man" Kuklinki was a cold-blooded sociopath while "Mr. Softee" was just crazy. He did, however, sell a lot of ice cream and from all accounts loved children.

The Ice Cream Truck War

     In Gloversville New Jersey 34-year-old Joshua Malatino, the owner of the local Sno Cone Joe franchise, also sold a lot of ice cream. His 21-year-old girlfriend, Amanda Scott, helped him operate his good humor truck. Business was good in Gloversville until a rival good humor man rolled into town in his Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck.

     Mr. Malatino, aka Sno Cone Joe, decided to harass his business rival, 53-year-old Brian Collis aka Mr. Ding-A-Ling. On April 16, 19 and 28, 2013, Joshua Malatino, with his Sno Cone Joe jingles blaring from his truck tailgated Mr. Ding-A-Ling around town. Whenever Mr. Collis stopped to service a customer Sno Cone Joe would pull up behind Mr. Ding-A-Ling and offer the consumer free ice cream. At one point Mr. Malatino allegedly phoned Mr. Ding-A-Ling headquarters in Latham New Jersey and said, "I own this town!"

     On May 3, 2013 a local prosecutor charged  Joshua Malatino and Amanda Scott with harassment and misdemeanor stalking. If convicted, Sno Cone Joe and Sno Cone Jane (just kidding) faced up to three months in jail. According to Gloversville Police Captain John Sira, Mr. Malatino had forced a different ice cream truck operator out of town the previous summer.

     In April 2015 a Fulton County judge dismissed the charges against Joshua Malatino and Amanda Scott. 

No comments:

Post a Comment