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Ice Cream Truck Wars: Competition Heats Up in New York

Stephen Mallon/Taxi(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- The sweet and melodious sounds of an ice cream truck jingle have turned into a battle cry in the turf war between dueling ice cream truck companies. The gloves are off between rival upstate New York ice cream trucks after police charged two operators of Sno Kone Joe with harassment and stalking.

Sno Kone Joe owner Joshua Malatino, 34, and girlfriend Amanda Scott, 21, were arrested Tuesday in Gloversville, N.Y., for allegedly stalking and harassing their out-of-town competitor, Phillip Hollister, who operates a Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck.

The chilly relationship began last month when Malatino allegedly taunted and threatened his rival, saying, “You don’t have a chance. This is my town,” police told local media outlets.

Police said Malatino also called the suburban Albany headquarters of Mr. Ding-A-Ling and said, “I own this town.”

Hollister, according to police, said that Malatino and Scott followed Hollister’s truck while blasting their ice cream jingle at a high volume. At one point, Hollister says, one of the Sno Kone Joe operators yelled “free ice cream” in an attempt to pry away his customers, police said.

“He [Malatino] had two vehicles. Two ice cream trucks and they were both engaged in that course of conduct,” Gloversville Police Capt. John Sira said.

Sira said Malatino’s alleged bullying attempts were spotted by police when two Sno Kone Joe trucks were following a Mr. Ding-A-Ling truck through the streets of Gloversville, a small city about 35 miles northwest of Albany.

“One of our officers actually witnessed one of the ice cream trucks following the other ice cream truck,” he said.

Malatino and Scott were charged Tuesday with second-degree harassment, a violation, and fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor. It’s unclear whether they have entered a plea.

ABC News reached out to Malatino’s attorney and he had no comment. Scott did not respond to a request for comment. If convicted, the couple could face three months in jail.

Police say this isn’t the first time Malatino tried to freeze out his competition.

“We have addressed issues similar to this with Mr. Malatino and his legal counsel, cautioning him against this type of behavior in the past,” Capt. Sira said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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