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In the Pipeline: After theft, a sweet recovery

August 27, 2012|By Chris Epting
(Courtesy Chris…)

One of the coldest cases on record has been solved. Call it "justice served, a la cart."

Back in May, I wrote about Mike Guidicianne, the 34-year-old Boston transplant/entrepreneur who owns and operates Orange County Slush here in Huntington Beach. Remember? Blue Vanilla, Watermelon, Lemon, Orange County Cream — delicious Italian ices that are now available at Albertsons and used to be available at his pushcart, which he brought to various events around Huntington Beach so that people could sample his ices.

I say "used to" because, as I sat down to interview him in May, Guidicianne told me that just the night before, someone had stolen his entire trailer. As he described then, "Inside was my push cart, my umbrella, my signage, my generator — even my ice cream scoops!"

But the cart was the centerpiece and most valuable item. The cart was his brand in the public eye, what people saw on the street.

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I received a lot of feedback about that column. People were happy to learn about the hard-working Guidicianne and his exceptional product line. But they were also angry that someone would steal something that represented the heart and soul of his business.

As was I. Here's a dedicated guy working like a dog (and even honoring his dog, Vegas, the Boston terrier who appears on his packaging) getting victimized by some low-life in the middle of the night.

So I was intrigued when I started receiving a series of cryptic emails recently from Guidicianne, hinting that he might have a scoop for me. And then, last week, the other scoop dropped.

Here is the story.

Earlier this summer, Guidicianne decided to poke around the popular classified ad website Craigslist in the hopes that he could find a cheap replacement cart for the one that had been stolen (they typically run about $6,000).

After reviewing seven or eight listings, he found something interesting: an ice cream cart with the pitch line, "Start your own business with a motorcycle!" Intrigued, he clicked on the ad expecting to find some newfangled kind of cart. His jaw dropped when he saw the photo pop up in the ad. It was his stolen cart! It did not appear to be damaged. All of the ads with his logo had been stripped off, but other than that, it looked OK.

So he called the police in Palm Springs, where the ad said the cart was located.

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