GROCERY stores have started locking up ice cream shelves to deter thieves from stealing the ice cream and selling it on the black market.
Retailers have taken anti-theft measures to stop shoplifters at a time when retail crime is a growing problem nationwide.
While shoppers might be used to seeing plexiglass in place of high-end beauty products, ice cream lids might come as a surprise.
Stores began to put safety lids on expensive ice cream brands like Haagen Dazs, as seen in a video from Inside edition posted on YouTube on Tuesday.
A sign was placed on the freezer for customers to read.
“To keep costs as low as possible, some ice cream units have been fitted with a protective lockout.
“This lock will be removed at checkout by a store associate,” the sign said.
At the end of the message, the store apologized to customers for the inconvenience.
A store associate interviewed by Inside Edition stated, “It’s an item with a high risk of theft.”
“People come, take ten and run out of the store.”
The branch filmed another store whose ice cream aisle was secured with heavy duty chains and padlocks.
Another device, resembling a bicycle lock, had to be opened by an employee in order for the ice cream to be dispensed to customers.
Police say thieves will steal the ice cream in bulk, store it in refrigerators and then resell it to small businesses, the outlet said.
“There is a black market for ice cream,” Phil Lempert, editor of supermarketguru.com, told Inside Edition.
He added, “You can stand on the corner and sell ice cream for a dollar a pint and people will buy it if it’s branded.”
Shoppers believe ice cream theft is becoming an embarrassingly big problem.
“It’s a shame. It really is,” a person told the outlet.
Another buyer said: “It’s a big problem.”
“This is what the world has come to,” said a third. “That’s a little sad.”