In 2017, Hollywood has become â€œHollyweed.â€
At least that may have been the New Yearâ€™s resolution of a determined prankster who around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning draped tarps over the iconic sign, transforming the oâ€™s in â€œwoodâ€ into lowercase eâ€™s.
Officer Christopher Garcia, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the episode was being investigated as trespassing, rather than as vandalism, because the miscreant had not directly interfered with the integrity of the sign.
To change the oâ€™s to eâ€™s, the prankster nestled a peace sign and a drawing of a heart into the bottom right corners of the two letters. Officer Garcia said that he did not find the prank funny, and that the suspect was believed to be a man. The police were contacted around 5:30 a.m., he said.
The stunt was a throwback to Jan. 1, 1976, when the prankster Daniel N. Finegood altered the letters in the same way.
But it would seem that Mr. Finegood has an heir: The original prankster died in 2007 at 52.
Though the Hollywood sign has been the object of such horseplay many times (Mr. Finegood alone changed it several more times over the years), the letters of the sign have not been altered in a long time, said Betsy Isroelit, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Sign Trust. She said that increased security and video cameras had led to fewer pranks, and that additional security measures would be taken.
The prank on Sunday morning may have been a reference to Proposition 64, a state ballot proposition passed on Election Day that legalized recreational marijuana for Californians 21 years or older.
Mr. Finegoodâ€™s original alteration also referred to state legislation; that year, California had relaxed its record-keeping regarding arrests and convictions of those suspected or found guilty of marijuana use.
â€œThere was obviously recent legislation in California that may have inspired people,â€ Ms. Isroelit said of the stunt, laughing. â€œBut to me, it looks more like a New Yearâ€™s Eve prank.â€
Reached around 9:30 a.m., she said the tarps would be down within an hour.