Suspect Arrested in “Hollyweed” Prank Case
By Eddie Makuch
A man has been arrested in connection with the New Year’s Day prank where the famous Hollywood sign was altered to say Hollyweed.
GameSpot sister site CBS News reports that 30-year-old Zachary Cole Fernandez, an artist, turned himself in to the Los Angeles Police Department on Monday alongside his lawyer. He was booked on suspicion of trespassing, which is a misdemeanor, and released on $1,000 bail, according to The Los Angeles Times. He’s due in court on February 15.
Fernandez, who apparently makes art under the name “Jesus Hands,” told Vice last week that he and his creative partner Sarah Fern were behind the prank.
This was not the first time the famous Hollywood sign was altered to say Hollyweed. In 1976, then-student Daniel Finegood altered the sign to say that. He was not arrested.
In the wake of this latest prank, the organization that handles maintenance for the sign vowed to improve security.
“We will be deploying additional technology to tighten up surveillance and thus deter unwanted visitors in the future,” Hollywood Sign Trust chairman Chris Baumgart explained. “This is more than preventing pranks or trespassing at the sign. Our concern is the safety of the neighborhood and the trespassers that put themselves at risk because it is extremely unsafe to be on the sign, let alone traversing the treacherous hillside that is home to those 9 famous letters.”
Currently, the sign is monitored by the LAPD with a camera system. First installed in 1994, the security system has been updated “several” times since then.