Nothing more Boston than this investigation into a missing Red Sox division banner

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are probably punching up the script on this story as we speak.

Police outside Boston are investigating whether a 2018 American League East division championship banner actually did “fall off a truck” onto the side of the road, as two Red Sox fans claimed this week.

Malden residents Louie Iacuzzi and James Amaral told local media on Wednesday that they were on a coffee run with a third man, Randy Baldasarri, when they saw a brown paper bag on Somerville’s McGrath Highway. Iacuzzi said he spotted someone run over the bag, and when he asked his friends to pull over, they unfurled the division championship banner that was to be displayed at Fenway Park.

Somerville Police are now looking into whether that story holds water after Flagraphics owner Tony Lafuente, a former Somerville alderman whose company has made banners for the Red Sox since 1992, told The Boston Globe he wasn’t sure if this one “fell off the truck, or if it walked off the truck.”

Malden men hold Red Sox banner for ransom

After originally telling WPRI-TV on Wednesday morning, “I’m going to give them back the banner,” Iacuzzi and Amaral soon afterwards told the Globe they were holding the banner for ransom in a bizarre video interview so Boston that Mark Wahlberg himself couldn’t have scripted it any better:

“In reciprocation, we would like to maybe go to like a nice playoff game,” Iacuzzi told the Globe on Wednesday morning. “We’re looking for something. We just don’t want to hand it over to them. We need to negotiate here. We know that that’s the original one. We were told there was only one made.”

“We’re hoping they do the right thing,” added Amaral. “We did the right thing. We could’ve kept it. We could’ve put it on eBay. We got connections where we could’ve reached out to other sources.”

The Red Sox reportedly refused to offer a reward.

The Red Sox just had another banner made

Obviously, Flagraphics could make another banner, making the original one all but worthless beyond a yarn for two dudes to spin over a couple Sam Adams Boston Lagers on their Malden stoop. Indeed Lafuente told the Globe, “We already have a new banner made.” But Amaral had a plan for that, too.

“We were told there was only one made, but then they told us they had a duplicate,” he said. “If they do try to put a duplicate up, you best believe we’re going to show up and say, ‘That’s not the original.’

Which, good luck with that. The Red Sox, as of Friday morning, seem to have things under control.

The banner tale began to unravel

When more and more media outlets began looking into the unlikelihood of the division banner falling off a truck and Lafuente publicly suggesting that “these guys stole my banner,” Iacuzzi and Amaral ultimately returned the banner to the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon for nothing in “reciprocation.”

As for the accusation of theft levied by Lafuente, Iacuzzi told the Globe in yet another interview, “They lost the [expletive], they’re the ones that [expletive] up. I found it, I’m trying to do the right thing.”

“If I didn’t pick it up, a hundred people would have ran over it,” added Iacuzzi. “I don’t want a million dollars. I don’t need a million dollars. All I wanted was to maybe bring my family, my friends to a [expletive] baseball game, maybe meet a player. … The flag is back home with the Boston Red Sox.

[…]

“I want to tell you guys something: I found the flag. I was never looking for money or fame or anything. I wanted to return it ever since I seen it.”

The Somerville Police investigation

Reports of the police investigation into this banner situation surfaced on Thursday.

“This matter is currently under investigation,” a Somerville Police spokesman told Boston’s WBZ-TV. “As this is an active and ongoing investigation, no further information will be provided at this time.”

The Red Sox clinched their third straight AL East title with Thursday’s 11-6 win over the division rival New York Yankees. The banner will presumably be unfurled when they return to Fenway on Monday.

No word on when the movie the inevitable Damon and Affleck project will go into production.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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