Locals say the sign has had to be replaced multiple times since the Lil Nas X song became a viral smash.
Residents in the town of Wellesley in the US state of Massachusetts have put out a plea for people to stop pinching their ‘Old Town Road’ sign.
Local outlet ‘The Swellesley Report’ says the street signs have been pinched at least three times since the song became a worldwide hit.
‘Old Town Road’ has spent the past 18 weeks at the top of the Billboard Charts - making it the longest running number one single in history.
It’s also made rapper Lil Nas X a glorious meme king.
But Stephanie Hawkinson from the Wellesley Department of Public Works says the town’s seen a marked increase of signage theft over the past few months.
“The behaviour 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,” she told local media.
It’s estimated each sign can cost the department between $200-250 USD, depending on how much of the set-up thieves take off with. That’s before labour costs.
Hawkinson also warned that the missing signs could delay emergency crews.
“I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s a very real and frightening possibility.”
It’s believed that the local government is now waiting for the popularity of the song to die down before they attempt to reinstall the signs.
… we uh, hesitate to inform them about the remixes. (They could be waiting a while).
Wellesley is not the only town to have their signage vanish.
Earlier this month, the Canadian town of Sicamous saw both their ‘Old Town Road’ signs mysteriously disappear.
“First people were having their picture taken underneath it. And then, the next you know, the sign is missing,” said Sheila Devost, executive director of the town’s chamber of commerce.
Unlike Wellesley, Sicamous have jumped on the opportunity.
The town is now mass producing and selling replicas of the sign.
“So we needed to look at it and be a little more creative ourselves, and enjoy it. You know something? If you want a sign, come and buy a sign,” Devost told Canadian media.
Profits from the signs will cover the replacement of the actual signs, plus some fundraising for the town.