A person of interest in the case of the New Year's Day transformation of the Hollywood Sign — which was altered to temporarily read “Hollyweed” — has been interviewed by detectives, police said today. The person could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
“There will be no arrest made, given that it's misdemeanor trespassing only,” Los Angeles Police Department officer Liliana Preciado said.
Despite state law that mandates swift identification in cases of public interest, LAPD was not identifying the person interviewed, she said. According to LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman, detectives were concealing the name under an exception to public-information law that allows cops to keep information under wraps when it could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.
“I don't see why someone they interviewed would be exempt from disclosure,” said attorney David Snyder, director of the First Amendment Coalition.
An artist named Zach Fernandez, who goes by jesushands on Instagram, told Vice that he and wife Sarah Fern were responsible for the prank, an apparent ode to a similar New Year's Day transformation of the sign in 1976. He said he dressed in camouflage and used sheets to transform the sign.
On Instagram Fernandez posted a photo of the “Hollyweed” Sign “in all its glory.”
As for the possibility of a vandalism case, the captain said such a charge wouldn't fit the crime. “There was no permanent damage to the structure,” he said. The Hollywood Sign Trust, which manages the landmark, said after the incident that it would consider beefing up security. The sign was back to normal by late morning Sunday.