Someone has taken their tools to the Old Town Road in Wellesley, Massachusetts, this spring and ridden off with a street sign — three times, officials said.
The road shares its name with the hit single by Lil Nas X. "Old Town Road" by the Georgia rapper has been at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart for 18 weeks, a new record, propelled in part by being deemed not country enough for Billboard's country charts back in March.
Since the spring, a Wellesley Old Town Road street sign has been stolen three times, town officials said. The estimated cost of replacing each sign is roughly $250, in addition to manpower.
Ricky Phillipo, who is in charge of the signs at the Wellesley Department of Public Works, said he had never heard the song before the signs started disappearing.
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"I was kind of flabbergasted," he said. "This is something new, so now we have to watch out."
Phillip said it is not uncommon for a handful of street signs to be stolen each year, but the signs are usually from streets named after colleges, not country rap songs.
Residents who live on Old Town Road said the jokes are getting old and they hope the hype dies down soon.
"The song is great and the artist who sings it seems great, but for the sake of my ears and my neighborhood, it would be nice if they moved on to something else," resident Brian McMahon said.
He has a dog but "no horses in the back," he noted.
Town officials said the signs can be critical to first responders or anyone new navigating the neighborhood. For now, they are holding off on putting up a new sign right away, because they are afraid someone will just steal it again. They said the last one only lasted about a week.
"We appreciate everything fun, but we also want to make sure we protect our town and keep our residents safe," Wellesley communications and project manager Stephanie Hawkinson said. "We hope they can appreciate the song in another way and maybe leave the sign there."
NBC10 Boston is reaching out to other Massachusetts communities with Old Town Roads. The town of Beverly said it had to replace its Old Town Road sign once in the spring.
A town in British Columbia that had the same problem started selling replica signs, according to The Swellesley Report, which first reported on the thefts.