Los Angeles residents awoke early Sunday to see that one thing, at least, looked different in the New Year: the Hollywood sign.
Armed with four tarpaulins, a prankster had climbed Mount Lee under the cover of night to edit the iconic landmark, which was changed to "HOLLYWeeD.”
Security footage recorded at 3 a.m. Sunday showed a “lone individual” climbing up the mountain, scaling the sign’s ladders and hanging tarpaulins over the O’s to change them to E's, said Sgt. Guy Juneau of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services division.
It could have been a New Year’s Eve prank, Juneau said, or the work of “a thrill seeker.”
The surveillance footage showed a man dressed in black, tactical-style gear. One of the tarpaulins was decorated with a peace sign, and another with a heart.
Because the sign was not damaged, the incident will be investigated as misdemeanor trespassing. The police have no suspects.
Some Angelenos joked that the alteration reflected California’s recent vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
The New Year’s Day change is far from the first time the Hollywood sign has been edited by artists and pranksters.
The sign, erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a housing development, originally read “Hollywoodland.
Residents of Los Angeles' most famous neighbourhood woke up on New Year's Day to find the world-famous Hollywood sign had been changed to read "Hollyweed".
Local media reported that police were treating the incident as minor trespass and were investigating.
The sign on Mount Lee is made of 45-foot (13.7m) tall letters.
Voters in California approved the legalisation of marijuana in a ballot held at the same time as the presidential election - on 8 November.
The prank has not caused lasting damage to the sign, however, as parts of both "O" letters were covered by tarpaulins to make them look like a lower-case letter "E".
The Los Angeles Times reports that a single person was recorded on security cameras climbing the sign to hang the materials.
A similar prank took place in 1976, to mark a relaxation in the state's marijuana laws.
The vandal -- who police think is probably a man -- used tarps to change the O's in the sign to E's, he said.
The vandal was caught on security-camera footage between midnight and 2 a.m. local time, but police can't tell his race or height because it was dark and raining, Garcia said.
The "Hollyweed" sign remained up until around 11 a.m., when authorities took down the tarps used to change the lettering.
Estevan Montemayor, a spokesman for Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, whose district includes the Hollywood sign, had earlier promised the iconic sign would be restored to its normal state.
"We don't know who did it but park rangers are going up there very soon to take down the draping that was put on top of the 'O' to alter the sign," Montemayor said Sunday morning.
There are sensors at the sign that trigger an alarm for police, but because the sensors are only in certain areas of the letters, it's possible to avoid them. There's a road accessible to the public by foot and car behind the sign.
"We believe this person came from behind the sign," Garcia said.
Betsy Isroelit with the Hollywood Sign Trust told CNN that the last time the sign was vandalized to read "Hollyweed" was in 1976.
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(CNN)The Hollywood sign got a little green over New Year's.
A prankster managed to change the iconic sign overlooking Los Angeles early Sunday to read "Hollyweed," said L.A. Police Officer Christopher Garcia, who works in the agency's security service division.