FRAMINGHAM - The evidence: a 5-pound shoulder cut, a scrap cut, covered in gristle, a 10-pound roast, and a slice of liver.
The crime scene: the town green.
For five weeks, butcher-quality cuts of red meat - it appears to be beef - have been appearing regularly beneath a tree in the historic Town Centre Common, and the caper has perplexed just about everybody in town. Police and town health officials are investigating. Residents are bewildered, even worried.
"I hear the meat might be poisonous," said Taryn Fusco, who has spied the meat on recent walks through the park with her Shih Tzu-Yorkie-mix. "I feel unsafe bringing my dog to the park."
Authorities have inspected the meat and sent samples to the state public health lab in Boston to determine whether it's been tampered with. They are pursuing every lead they can find, though those have been in short supply.
"It's our mission to get to the bottom of why these pieces of meat are being left," said Lieutenant Paul Shastany of the Framingham Police Department. "Why? Who? And what is it? What kind of meat?"
The mystery began in early October, when dog walkers began finding slabs of raw meat, seemingly carefully arranged at the base of a large evergreen.