‘Off the Beaten Path’ sign popular with thieves

The Off The Beaten Path Road sign in North Side has been stolen numerous times over the years by unauthorized sign collectors. - Photo: Jewel Levy

North Side’s Off The Beaten Path Road sign has often fallen victim to thieves who have claimed the sign as their own over the years.

Farmer Adrian Bodden, who owns a farm along the road, has lost count of the number of times he has had to request the National Roads Authority replace the stolen street sign.

Mr. Bodden thinks his road name is so catchy and unusual, it’s proving irresistible to some people.

“When the Off the Beaten Path sign was put up, people stole the sign about five or six times,” he said.

To keep the sign in place, he said, the NRA had to attach it with tamper-resistant bolts, which require special tools to remove, and those have managed to stave off would-be thieves for the past couple of years.

“The road is very popular,” Mr. Bodden said, adding that not a day goes by without strangers making their way down the road to see what Off The Beaten Path Road is all about.

Mr. Bodden named the road Off The Beaten Path in 1999 because of its remoteness and inaccessibility after he bought 40 acres of land there. He also likes to call the area “God’s country.”

After building the road to his property, government upgraded the front part of the road and erected the sign. The Off the Beaten Path Road sign began to attract attention from the first day it was planted there by the National Roads Authority, Mr. Bodden said.

What is down the road?

“I have about 25 cows, 60 goats, chickens, and a huge assortment of vegetable and fruit trees, such as mangoes, peppers, callaloo, sweet potatoes, star fruit, breadfruits, plantains, okra, June plum, pumpkins, avocado and even grapes in God’s country,” Mr. Bodden said.

While he does not live there himself, he says he dreams of doing so one day.

The National Roads Authority was unable to state how many times the road sign had been replaced.

“I am not sure if people are taking the signs but if they are disappearing, until someone actually witnesses the fact, we at NRA can’t really do anything about it,” said Delroy Myles of the National Roads Authority’s Signs and Lines Department.

The price of replacing a street sign varies depending on the size, he said, and can cost up to $200.

There are no current regulations prescribing penalties for theft or damage to public road signs, he added.