CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It’s the busiest time of the year for ice-cream men, according to Daniel Zulegar, who’s driven an ice-cream truck in the Tri-State for more than 20 years.
But Zulegar isn’t able to cash in right now.
He says he and his wife woke up Saturday morning to discover his truck was gone. He filed a report with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, he says, and the truck was found Monday in Downtown Cincinnati. But it had been damaged, and because of the damage, Zulegar says he can’t work.
“It’s been very devastating,” he said. “I’ve lost everything.”
Zulegar says he suffered a massive heart attack in the ’90s and that he doesn’t qualify for disability, so he started driving ice-cream trucks.
“I can’t work a regular job. This is the only thing I can do,” he said.
In the summer months, Zulegar explains he often makes hundreds of dollars per day. Now not only is he losing that money, he says he’s also out a thousand dollars of ice cream, and repairing his truck will cost thousands more.
He adds he doesn’t have coverage on the truck, so repairs will have to come out of his own pocket, something he isn’t sure he can do.
“Right now, it’s basically destroyed me,” he said. “I don’t have money to buy more ice cream. I don’t have money to make the repairs. I’m totally broke. It was my last cent I had to give them to get my truck back.”
The police report says the keys were left in the truck prior to it being stolen.
Zulegar says the truck was parked behind a fence on his property and that you can’t see the truck from the road.
“I never will again,” he said of leaving his keys in the truck. “I wouldn’t think anyone would’ve gone back there on my property to do it.”
Zulegar says he has a message for the person or people who took his truck: “Good luck in your life. If this is what you have to resort to, to destroy somebody else’s life, good luck to you. Just don’t ever come on my property again.”
His daughter created a GoFundMe to help with the damage costs. So far, more than $1,800 has been raised and at least two people have come forward and offered to fix Zulegar’s ice cream truck for free.
Police say no arrests have been made in the case.
If you have any information, you’re urged to contact the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office District 5 at 513.474.5770. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 513.352.3040.