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Cold case: Jaxson’s replaces stolen freezer truck

As a bottle of cream was broken on the front grill, the christening was official.

Say hello to the Miss Jaxson II, the new freezer truck keeping things cool in Dania Beach.

The $100,000 freezer truck replaces the 2006 GMC stolen from Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor last May.

Surveillance video from a nearby restaurant shows the thieves severing the lock and chains surrounding the truck just after midnight, and driving away, followed by a black sports utility vehicle.

An intensive search followed. Rewards were offered for information leading to the truck’s recovery — ranging from free ice cream on your birthday for life to $1,000 in cold cash.

One time, they thought they had a lead. A freezer truck showed up in Palm Beach County, said Randy Smith, the restaurant’s general manager. But it wasn’t the Miss Jaxson.

Smith was worried. If a hurricane knocked out power to Jaxson’s, the restaurant had no alternative to store frozen products. And picking up food throughout the sweltering summer was a nightmare — they had to use an unrefrigerated U-Haul truck.

“Customers would call and ask ‘Did you find the truck?’” said Jaxson’s owner Monroe Udell.

Each time the answer was still the same. No. Still no sign of the truck.

“It could be in Honduras, it could be in Las Vegas, it could be anywhere,” said Smith.

With peak season coming, Udell and his staff decided it was time to buy a replacement. Insurance covered less than a third of the new truck’s $100,000 cost. The restaurant had to pay the rest, Smith said.

The new model of the previous truck is encased with a photo of Udell and operates with less carbon emissions than before, Smith said.

Udell’s daughter, Linda Zakheim, couldn’t believe customer reaction to the truck being stolen.

“They took it very personally and they were just very upset, Zakheim said. “It was so unexpected that people cared about our restaurant as much as they did.”