Does the NYPD have an undercover ice cream truck to go with its secret spy taxi cab? The Mister Softee-lookalike above was spotted double-parked in front of the department's 114th precinct in Astoria, Queens, with an NYPD baseball cap on its dashboard and all of its Softee branding conspicuously removed.
NYPD spokeswoman Sophia Mason categorically denied that the bootleg truck belongs to the department. "It has nothing to do with us at all," she said. And as for the hat, "You can buy those anywhere."
Mister Softee vice president Jim Conway wrote via email that the vehicle looks like a "Softee truck that is now partially de-identified." Ordinarily, the hood would carry the Mister Softee name, as would the large blank space to the right of the window. Without a license plate, however—Bing scrubs plate numbers from its images—it would be difficult to tell whether it originally came from the company, he added.
Counterfeit Mister Softee trucks aren't a new phenomenon: in 2005, the New York Times ran an article on private investigators that the company hired to report Softee bootleggers, and lookalike trucks branded "Master Softee" caused a minor sensation last year. Bing has no apparent function for determining the date of a given Streetside image, so it's unclear when the photo in front of the 114th precinct was taken.
Do you know anything about this particular unbranded mobile ice cream vendor? Have you seen it rolling around Queens? If you do see it, let us know—and for christ's sake, don't try to buy weed from it.
[Images via Bing Maps]