Police arrest artist who changed Hollywood sign to ‘Hollyweed’

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The man who vandalized the iconic Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles to make it say “Hollyweed” has been arrested, police say. He has been identified as 30-year-old Zachary Fernandez, who is also known as “Jesus Hands.”

Fernandez voluntarily surrendered to Hollywood detectives on Monday with his attorney at his side. He was arrested and booked on one misdemeanor count of trespassing before being released on his own recognizance.

The incident happened at about 3 a.m. PT on New Year’s Day when someone climbed over a fence to gain access to the iconic sign. He then put tarps around two of the letters, which changed the sign’s appearance to make it say “Hollyweed”. The letters were not damaged.

Photos of the vandalism went viral on New Year’s Day and attracted people wanting to take selfies with the revised sign. The tarps remained on the letters for most of the morning and were removed by park rangers just before noon.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last week, Fernandez said his act was not vandalism but rather art. “I did it out of love and a certain peace from within. 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people. You got hurt and then you grew. 2017 is perfect to conjure up the growth,” he said.

Fernandez, who is a friend of actor and comedian Tommy Chong, said his controversial act was also a tribute to Daniel Finegood, the prankster who in 1976 also managed to change the sign’s appearance to Hollyweed.

“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,” said Los Angeles Councilmember David Ryu. “My office has urged the City Attorney and LAPD to investigate and prosecute this case.”

If convicted, Fernandez could face imprisonment up to 6 months and/or a fine up to $1,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on February 15.

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