A prankster climbed up a mountain in Los Angeles overnight to welcome the New Year Sunday by altering the world-famous Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed,” police say.
Los Angelenos recovering from New Year’s Evecelebrations might have been blurry-eyed as the sun came up on Mount Lee but they couldn’t have missed noticing there was something wrong with the familiar 350-feet-long sign.
According to Sgt. Guy Juneau, the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services division (which handles security for public buildings and facilities), a “lone gentleman” made his way up the mountain, scaled a protective fence, clambered over the sign and placed two tarps covering the two Os.
“It now reads ‘WEED,’ Juneau told USA TODAY. “He escaped but (the stunt) was captured on security video footage.”
But by 10:45 a.m. P.T., the tarps had been removed and all was right once again on the “Hollywood” sign, according to CBS Los Angeles’ live coverage.
Police are investigating and if the man is arrested, he will be prosecuted for misdemeanor trespassing, Juneau said.
But it isn’t the first time the sign with its 45-foot-tall letters has been vandalized; Juneau says there’s an incident at least once a year.
“It’s thrill-seekers, looking for media attention,” he said. “It’s L.A., part of our L.A.-crazy,” he added, chuckling. But seriously, he said, “We can’t have the sign saying that.”
Police had to press to restore the sign quickly; finding work crews on a holiday proved difficult, he said.