Case of 'Hollyweed' prankster will be presented to prosecutors, police say

Days after a Pomona artist told reporters that he altered the Hollywood sign to read “HOLLYWeeD,” Los Angeles police detectives say they plan to submit their case to the Los Angeles County district attorney for possible prosecution.

LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado said Wednesday that investigators were “talking to a person” in connection with the trespassing case, but declined to name the person. Preciado said detectives would not arrest the prankster on suspicion of trespassing, but would instead present their findings to the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors will then decide whether or not to file charges, she said. 

Artist Zach Fernandez, who calls himself “Jesus Hands,” told Vice that he and his “creative partner/former wife, Sarah Fern,” were responsible for the prank. Dressed in camouflage, Fernandez used a rope to swing around the letters, he said, and used clamps to clip sheets of fabric and photographs to them. The entire act took about two hours, he told Vice.

Fern told the online magazine that they “mapped it out together and double checked measurements and everything.”

“We did it on a budget and were very resourceful about it,” she told Vice.

Police said surveillance footage showed a man dressed in black, tactical-style gear scaling the sign’s ladders and hanging tarps over the O’s to change them to E’s at 3 a.m. Sunday. One of the tarps was decorated with a peace sign, and another with a heart.

Following the prank, the Hollywood Sign Trust, the agency that maintains and secures the site, said it planned to boost security.

The couple said the prank was an homage to Daniel Finegood, a Cal State Northridge student who pulled off the same act on New Year’s Day in 1976.

Finegood scaled Mt. Lee with $50 worth of curtains and changed the sign to coincide with the first day that California classified possession of up to one ounce of marijuana as a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

The couple said they also drew inspiration from the divisive election, saying they hoped the piece brought conversation and positivity.

Fern and Fernandez said they aware they could face consequences for revealing their identifies. But Fern told Vice, “We’re OK with that.”

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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