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SIGN OF THE TIMES: IN THE WEED
SMALL HOURS (UPDATE)

We don't remember altering the iconic Hollywood sign in the dawning hours of New Year's Day to read "Hollyweed," but it does kinda sound like us. In any case, this revision didn't last long and the sign was back to normal, various media sources (and our own admittedly bleary eyeballs) report, within a few hours. In a related story, Hollywood still reeks of dope.

So how did the perpetrator pull it off given the high level of security surrounding the sign? 

About 35 cameras are stationed on the Mt. Lee hillside to monitor the sign and surrounding areas, and a police officer sits in a guard house around the clock, according to a follow-up story in the L.A. Times.

Security footage recorded at 3 a.m. Sunday showed a “lone individual” climbing 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 LAPD’s Security Services division.

It could have been a New Year’s 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 tarps was decorated with a peace sign, and another with a heart.

Officials still aren't sure how he evaded cameras and security, but they believe the rain and clouds provided cover.

Authorities said they dropped the vandalism charges after finding no damage to the sign. Although the search for suspects has been called off, anyone who steps forward would face a misdemeanor trespassing charge—along with local-hero status.

On Monday, the agency that maintains and secures the sign said that it will explore boosting security to better protect the landmark and the neighbors who live near it.

The surveillance system is like a chain,” Chris Baumgart, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust, told the L.A. Times. “The chain is only as good as its weakest link, so as we study this—the prankster coming in, how he [or] she slipped through—we will determine this week where the link was that was weak, then we will upgrade there.”

Baumgart said he plans to meet with the LAPD this week to be debriefed on the matter and to explore ways to prevent similar acts.

 

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