Lil Nas X’s may have made music history with his single “Old Town Road” but residents in a Massachusetts town complain that the song has also led to his fans stealing signs from a street that’s actually named Old Town Road.
According to NME, the sign has already been stolen three times from the suburban Boston town of Wellesley. And all thefts suspiciously began around the time when Lil Nas X’s song was heating up the charts and on its way to becoming the longest-running U.S. No. 1 in Billboard Hot 100 history.
“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,” said Stephanie Hawkinson who serves as Wellesley’s communication and project manager.
While the people responsible may see their actions as a lighthearted prank, Hawkinson warned there could be serious repercussions if people keep pilfering the sign, especially in cases when first responders and emergency services end up being delayed due to a lack of street signs to direct them.
“[It] could mean life or death for someone in need,” she noted somberly. “I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s a very real and frightening possibility.”
Officials in Wellesley have opted not to replace the street signs until the fervor surrounding “Old Town Road” dwindles. But that may take longer than they hope given the song has officially been remixed to feature Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, Mason Ramsey, Diplo, amongst others and still shows no signs of slowing down.
The Old Town Road street sign in Wellesley has been stolen so many times this spring and summer that the town's Department of Public Works has suspended reinstalling the street sign until the song loses popularity. pic.twitter.com/1TByT0ugYc
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) August 9, 2019