Lil Nas X’s Hit Has People Stealing ‘Old Town Road’ Signs in Mass.
Add the Wellesley, Mass., Department of Public Works staff to the list of people unamused by the sustained chart success of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road." Per local news source The Swellesley Report, at least three road signs for the Norfolk Country town's Old Town Road have been stolen since the song entered the public consciousness back in March.
What might read like a harmless prank has become an expensive hassle Wellesley's local officials. Beyond the costs for new signs and labor, the DPW must consider how road signs provide quick and valuable reference points for police, firefighters and ambulance drivers, even at a time when many use GPS.
“The behavior is likely the work of individuals playing pranks, but it costs the town a lot of time and money to locate, repair — and where the signs and posts are damaged — replace and reinstall the signs,” says Stephanie Hawkinson, Wellesley's communications and project manager, in a statement to The Swellesley Report.
Wellesley isn't the only town in North America to deal with such mischief: The Swellesley Report cites the Daily Hive News Vancouver's story about Sicamous, British Columbia's own rash of Old Town Road sign thefts. In response, Sicamous had replica signs made and sold them for $25 each. That's probably a boring proposition for criminals, but it provides fun keepsakes and dorm room decor for law-abiding residents.
Towns hoping for the song to cool off might have to wait quite a while. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus have now logged 18 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, setting a new chart record and showing no signs of slowing down.
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