California’s newly legalized recreational pot users got a super-sized New Year’s shout-out this weekend when pranksters armed with tarps changed the famous Hollywood sign in the hills above LA to “Hollyweed.”
The high (altitude) change didn’t last long however, as buzz-killing park rangers yanked down the tarps before noon. Sadly, many New Year’s Eve cannabis revelers may not have been up early enough to see the change they wanted to become.
Police say there isn’t a smoking gun in this case, despite the fact that the male vandal was caught on security-camera footage between midnight and 2 a.m. Police can’t be sure of his race or height because it was dark and raining, according to officer Christopher Garcia of the LAPD’s security service division.
In addition to the uncooperative weather and the periodic darkness that Angelenos have come to expect at that time of night, police efforts were also hindered by the fact that the prankster apparently knew what he was doing and had cased the joint.
Because while there are electronic sensors at the sign to trigger police alarms, the sensors are only in certain areas of the letters, so it’s possible to avoid them. Also, there’s a road conveniently accessible to the public by foot and car right behind the sign.
“We believe this person came from behind the sign,” Garcia told CNN. Sneaking up from the rear: Diabolical!
Vandals have altered the sign several times over the years of course. And this isn’t even the first time the sign’s been weedified, though it’s not exactly a chronic habit. The sign was first changed to promote ganja back in 1976 and again in the 1980s to—wait for it—publicize a movie.
“I thought we came to see the Hollywood sign, not the ‘Hollyweed’ sign,” thoroughly mellow tourist Bruce Quinn told KABC 7. “But hey, it’s OK with me.”
And while we don’t always agree with tourists, it’s okay with us, too.