Saratoga Ben & Jerry’s owner commends staff after robbery

Peace, love, and ice cream– that’s what the sign says.

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They like to say they sell fun at the Ben & Jerry’s in Saratoga Springs.

“It’s an indulgence to come to our store. It’s joy for belly and soul,” said owner Patrick Pipino.

But someone demanded more than a scoop Sunday.

“A thief came in, got an ice cream cone and two seconds later said to one of our staff, ‘I have a gun. I’m robbing the store.’ The first staff member thought he was kidding and sent him to the supervisor on duty. And he said, ‘No, this really is a robbery. Empty the drawer,'” said Pipino. “He sat there licking his ice cream the whole time, which is kind of bizarre.”

It was a first for the shop in 30 years.

“We’re a block from the police station and so many kids of police officers have worked here over the years and now some current officers that work here that this has generally been the safest spot in Saratoga,” said Pipino with a smile.

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There are security cameras all over the shop.

Police say 40-year-old Daniel McKay of Amsterdam took off with some cash and had an electric bicycle.

Authorities say he went on to commit another robbery at the Stewart’s Shop on Route 9 in Malta.

Investigators say they found McKay at a nearby hotel.

Pipino says the Ben & Jerry’s staff showed maturity far beyond their years.

“I’m most grateful that nobody was hurt,” he said. “I’m really grateful that the kids– and this is their first job– showed such poise and calm and grace under pressure. And not only did they not get hurt, but there were customers in the store at the time. They got them to safety as well.”

McKay is now facing two counts of felony robbery.