It has been determined how to solve a carbohydrate mystery that affected a small New Jersey town and eventually made headlines around the world. Residents claim they now know who and why he dumped hundreds of pounds of raw pasta next to a stream.
A resident of Old Bridge, New Jersey, first noticed what appeared to be enormous mounds of pasta on the ground in a wooded area where people frequently discard their unwanted furniture and building supplies in late April. This local got in touch with Nina Jochnowitz, who lives in the town, which is about 35 miles southwest of New York City and is politically active.
Jochnowitz went to the location of the allegedly dumped pasta because she wanted to see it for herself. She took a few pictures of the scene and shared them on social media after estimating that between 300 and 500 pounds of elbow, spaghetti, and ziti pasta were spread out over a 25-foot area. Jochnowitz sent the images via email to regional government representatives as proof of the problems brought on by the absence of a garbage pickup service in the area.
The puzzling pasta piles quickly gained popularity. Additionally, as Brian Thompson reports for NBC New York, the circumstance offered some humor to both locals and online readers. Pasta-related puns abounded, with some claiming that the suspect is "a man by the name of Al Dente" and others warning that they should not forget about the suspect's accomplice Lin Guini.
Authorities in Old Bridge, however, did not find the situation amusing. The town's business administrator, Himanshu Shah, quickly gave the order to respond to the mess by having a police officer file a report and public works staff properly dispose of the pasta. As Michael Levenson of the New York Times puts it, "It was not clear if a large fork had been used" during the cleanup operations.
Officials later discovered that the pasta was not cooked, despite the fact that it appeared to have been. Instead, after being exposed to the rain for a few days, it probably softened.
The pasta puzzle was eventually resolved by the nearby neighbors by themselves. They were able to identify the man in the security camera footage as someone who had been cleaning out his mother's house after she passed away.
According to Jochnowitz, who is speaking to NJ Advance Media's Brianna Kudisch, "There was so much of it, he was probably a bit overwhelmed."
The man is a military veteran, according to the neighbors, who are concealing his identity because they don't want him to "relive the trauma" of losing his mother and serving in the military.
According to Jochnowitz, she neither anticipated nor intended for the images to go viral; rather, she just wanted to "embarrass the township into doing their job," as she tells Sydney Page of the Washington Post.
This week, Ali Allocco, who grew up close to Old Bridge, tweeted images of the pasta. The story, she tells the Post, is "super New Jersey."
"It really is just such an absurd thing to see," she continues. Nobody anticipated finding hundreds of pounds of pasta in the forest.