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Ice cream truck driver speaks out about armed robbery

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 12 2013 04:32:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2013 05:29:55 PM CDT

The driver of a Mister Softee ice cream truck spoke exclusively to 69 News after being carjacked and robbed at knife-point.

READING, Pa. -

The driver of a Mister Softee ice cream truck spoke exclusively to 69 News after being carjacked and robbed at knifepoint.

A man jumped into the truck Friday evening, forced the woman to drive him around the city and took off with cash, said police.

"I was extremely, extremely nervous. I was scared, but at the same time I was thinking of trying to keep him calm for my safety," said Ivelisse Rodriguez, who has been driving the truck for seven years.

Rodriguez has been left traumatized. For so many, Mister Softee is a summertime staple, but now for Rodriguez, it's a horrific reminder when her life flashed before her eyes.

"He shoved my face and told me to turn around and don't look at him. He put the knife to my neck and told me to just drive him and shut up," she said.

Rodriguez's nightmare began just after 5 p.m. Friday when she tried to sell ice cream to children in the area of North 11th and Walnut streets in Reading. Then, she heard a man climb through the truck's side window and felt a knife to her neck.

"I told him take my money. Take my purse. I have a cellphone, take everything but just let me go," she recounted. "I was like, 'Oh my God. I really don't want to die here.' I have two kids."

Rodriguez drove the truck to the area of Linden and Greenwich streets when the robber grabbed the money box and ran away, said police.

"She's still devastated. I mean, it's the first time anything ever happened to her like this," said Luis Diaz, who also drives a Mister Softee truck and is married to Rodriguez.

It's the first time in 30 years anything happened to a driver at the Mister Softee franchise in Laureldale, Berks Co.

Rodriguez missed her first weekend of work in seven years because she was too scared to get back behind the wheel, and now the other drivers are on high alert.

"I'm careful now. I keep my doors closed and I'm more alert for the people when I'm driving," said Joseph Rodriguez, who also drive a Mister Softee truck.    

Rodriguez planned to get back to work this week. Her boss told his employees if they do not feel comfortable in a certain neighborhood to keep on driving.

Police are searching for the man described and a dark-skinned Latino, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall with a ponytail. Rodriguez said he was wearing red and white sneakers.

If you know anything that can help police make an arrest in this case, call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.