Hollywood's iconic sign becomes 'Hollyweed' after vandal strikes

Hollywood sign
Rich Polk | Getty Images

Someone in the 213 just turned one of California's most recognizable landmarks into a big endorsement for 420.

Los Angeles residents awoke on New Year's Day after a night of revelry to the sight of the iconic "Hollywood" sign mysteriously transformed into "Hollyweed," the work of an apparent prankster. Social media users quickly noticed the howler, and took to Twitter to express their surprise and bemusement.

A representative for the Los Angeles Police Department's security services division told CNBC that an unknown perpetrator climbed up the sign and used a tarp to create an effect turning both 'O's in the sign to 'E's. He added that the incident was being investigated as an act of trespassing.

For nearly 100 years, the sign has been both a fixture in Hollywood Hills and a touchstone of Tinseltown's popular culture power. Ironically, the "Hollywood" sign, which has been a prime target of mischief-makers over the years, was once defaced in 1976 for a similar purpose.

According to History.com, a group of students at that time also used tarp to turn the 'Os' into 'Es', in order to celebrate a new law that decriminalized possession of small amounts of weed.

In November, the nation's most populous state voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, instantly becoming the largest market for pot-based products in the country.

Still, not everyone found humor in the defacement. Veteran television personality Montel Williams ripped the act of mischief on Twitter, saying that he hoped the perpetrators were arrested and charged.