NEW YORK (AFP) – Police in the United States (US) have an unusual case to crack: why were several hundred pounds of pasta illegally dumped next to a stream in a New Jersey town?
The macaroni mystery unfolded in Old Bridge, near New York City, late last month when a resident posted pictures of the oodles of noodles on Facebook.
The photos showed no sauce, no parmesan, and no meatballs – just piles and piles of spaghetti, macaroni and alphabet shapes beside a creek in the woods.
“Fifteen wheelbarrow loads”, to be exact, town business administrator Himanshu Shah told AFP in a statement on Friday.
He said employees from the public works department and police officers were dispatched to the scene after seeing the images circulate online.
“We would estimate several hundred pounds of uncooked pasta that was removed from the packaging and then dumped along the creek,” Shah added.
That was sure to raise eyebrows in New Jersey, where about 17 per cent of the population identify as having Italian ancestry.
Workers were able to load all of the food in under an hour and properly dispose of it, he explained.
“It looks like it was only there for a short time but moisture did start to soften some of the pasta,” said Shah, who added that the police were investigating.
Local media reported that the town of 65,000 people was abuzz with speculation about who might be responsible – a restaurant perhaps, or a cancelled caterer?
Social media users were quick to share their pasta puns.
“We should send the perpetrators to the state penne tentiary,” someone quipped on Reddit.