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Suspect's Name Is Al Dente: Locals Solve Who Was Dumping Mounds of Pasta in NJ

Alessandra Tarantino

It’s one of the most horrific incidents to ever hit the state of New Jersey since the Lindbergh kidnapping. Okay, not quite the same thing, but being raised by Italians—this was deeply alarming. Someone dumped 500 lbs. of pasta in the woods. Old Bridge, New Jersey, was the scene of the crime, with reactions ranging from humorous to outrage. Some joked that the suspect was named “al dente,” while others were aghast at the wastefulness (via The Guardian): 

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Last month, Nina Jochnowitz – a former candidate for a seat on the Old Bridge township council – posted pictures on to her Facebook page that showed heaps of spaghetti and macaroni preposterously dumped alongside a bank of Iresick brook. 

“A good estimate is more than 500 pounds of pasta dumped,” Jochnowitz wrote on her Facebook page. 

The images quickly triggered a slew of reactions online. 

Some were humorous. “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs,” one user replied. 

Someone else wrote: “I can’t get what’s the problem; just pour a couple buckets of sauce on it and you’re good to go.” 

But others criticized the dumping for being wasteful. 

One person wrote: “What a disgrace. The spaghetti could have been given to a food pantry or for homeless people.” 

Another user said: “So many can’t afford food what a waste. Never mind the threat to the environment.” 

For her part, Jochnowitz told National Public Radio that the bizarre episode highlighted how Old Bridge lacks “bulk garbage pickup”. 

“It has been a point of contention for the entire time I’ve lived in this town – 23 years,” Jochnowitz, an environmental activist, said to NPR. 

The pasta, which appeared to be limp and cooked, was actually uncooked, according to Old Bridge’s business administrator, Himanshu Shah. It simply appeared cooked because of recent rainfall in the area. 

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And now locals have solved the mystery of who was dumping the food. It was from occupants of a nearby home who had put up their residence for sale. They were merely cleaning out the cupboards (via NBC4 New York): 

 

Neighbors said that the oodles of noodles came from a nearby home that is up for sale. A military veteran moving out of his mother's home after her death seemingly found a stockpile of old food that she had kept in the house. 

"I mean, I really feel like he was just trying to clear out his parents' house and they were probably stocked up from COVID," said neighbor Keith Rost, saying it's a generational thing. "My grandparents always had a cupboard full of cans and pasta, just to be safe." 

No matter the facts of the matter, the pictures still went viral, with captions saying things like the lead suspect is a man by the name of Al Dente (get it?). Or, don't forget his partner in crime, Lin Guini (hah). Others wondered if whoever did dump the food will be sent to penne-tentiary (OK, that one was pretty good). And it wasn't known if what was left there was pasta expiration date (last one, we swear). 

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Yeah, I still think these people deserve life sentences.

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