Ice cream truck drivers on edge after robbery

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Billy Hill is the ice cream man. He's worked at Pela Ice Cream for the last 11 years. He's never been robbed, but lately:

"You just have to be on your guard and be more observant than you normally are," said Hill.

That's because fellow ice cream truck driver Teresa Robinson said a hispanic man flagged her down on the Hague near Breda Drive around 7 p.m. Friday. She pulled over, and he showed her a gun. She told officers a second hispanic man got into her van, grabbed her money bag with about $300 inside and the two ran off.

"It came as a shock, you know. I hate it, it upsets me and it does worry me. I've never had anything like that happen, I've been followed. But I've always been aware and made them know that I was aware of what's going on," said driver Della McLemore.

Besides being observant, both drivers said they wouldn't pull over on a bridge with no one else nearby.

"I generally try to make sure I'm where other people can see me, especially if there's more than a couple of them and they're adults," said Hill.

Knoxville police said drivers should also avoid carrying a lot of cash.

"A suggestion that we would make is that if they can make a money drop on their route, or have someone meet them that works for the company to take some of they money so they don't have so much," said Darrell DeBusk, with the Knoxville Police Department.

While officers search for the two suspects, Pela Ice Cream's owner hopes a reward cracks the case.

"What they got was like $300 and we will be able to double that offer as a reward if somebody gives us or the police the right track of who did it," said Pedro Saez, the owner.

And although drivers said the robbery scared them, they won't be quitting their routes anytime soon. That's because risky or not, they love making people happy with ice cream.

Police said the suspects are around five feet tall and weigh between 180 and 200 lbs. They wore white tank tops. One had on black jean shorts and the other was wearing black, shiny shorts.

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