Old Town Road Is Real, and People Keep Stealing the Street Signs

Old Town Road is an actual place. You may most likely take a horse there, when you needed to — besides that as of late, it may be a little bit more durable to search out.

A quiet residential road in Wellesley, Mass., was referred to as Old Town Road lengthy earlier than the country-trap music by Lil Nas X grew to become a sensation. “Old Town Road” isn’t solely common — it’s record-shattering. The music has develop into the longest-running No. 1 single in the 61-year historical past of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

And in Wellesley this spring, round the time the music took off, the road indicators at both finish of Old Town Road began being ripped away.

That’s misdemeanor larceny, and it’s not simple to do. Each signal was about 12 toes tall and bolted into an underground anchor. The metallic poles appeared to have been both unbolted or felled utilizing a hacksaw.

“Somebody’s got to be very determined to steal this sign,” Stephanie Hawkinson, a spokeswoman for the city, mentioned in an interview on Monday.

After every of the indicators was stolen thrice — for a complete of six contraband “Old Town Rd.” indicators whose whereabouts stay unknown — the metropolis stopped changing them. It’s costly; every new pair of signals prices $250 or extra, and that’s not together with labor.

Ms. Hawkinson mentioned that road indicators had been stolen in Wellesley sometimes, and extra usually in the summer season. But the Old Town Road thieves have been particularly persistent. “This one sort of caught us by surprise,” she mentioned.

This isn’t the solely Old Town Road in the United States. There are many, from New York to Texas to Louisiana. There is even one in Villa Rica, Ga., not removed from the place Lil Nas X grew up. (The mayor of Villa Rica mentioned he had no data of the road indicators being stolen there.)

A consultant for Lil Nas X didn’t reply to a request for remark about the vandals in Massachusetts.

Ms. Hawkinson identified that the thefts offered a public security downside, as a result of road indicators may also help emergency responders navigate the city.

She added that Wellesley will get its road indicators from Atlantic Broom Service, a company based in Brockton, Mass., that makes road maintenance products, and that people could order an Old Town Road sign from the company rather than steal from the municipality. It’s not free, but at least it doesn’t involve a hacksaw.

Dalia Whelton, the sign shop manager at Atlantic Broom Service, agreed. “Just come and buy it from us!” she said. “That poor town.”

She said people could order a personalized street sign from the company for about $85, plus shipping.

“They should think twice,” Ms. Whelton said of the thieves. “The reason street signs are there is for the emergency responders to get to the right place.”

Ms. Hawkinson said Wellesley would wait for the song’s popularity to wane. She acknowledged that it could be a while.

“We’re keeping an eye on the popularity of the song, which continues to be at No. 1,” she said. “So we’re holding off as long as we can, to make sure that we don’t have to replace them again.”

Source link Nytimes.com

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