A 30-year-old man, Zachary Cole Fernandez was arrested on Monday, just over a week after he altered the popular Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed” according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Fernandez turned himself in with his attorney and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, a police statement said. He was recorded by security cameras in the area dressed in black and changing the sign very early on New Year’s day.
Fernandez, an artist, said he had heard that someone had previously done it in the 1970s and he decided to repeat the prank to bring some positivity into the world.
He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to appear in court on February 15, a police spokesman said.
Los Angeles councilman, David Ryu, said he was not amused and would push for Fernandez to be prosecuted to the fullest.
“The Hollywood sign has seen many alteration attempts over the years for people seeking notoriety or commercial gain,” he said in a statement. “Pranks of this nature deplete the resources of our valuable public safety personnel, in both responding to the prank and in responding to the increased crowds and copycat attempts that these incidents generate.”
Police said Fernandez was charged with a misdemeanor charge of trespass, as opposed to vandalism, because he did not damage the sign. The landmark was erected in 1923 as “Hollywoodland” to advertise a local real estate development. It has undergone a number of transformations over the years, including in 1987, when pranksters changed it to “Holywood” to mark the visit of Pope John Paul II.