'Hollyweed' prankster details changing Hollywood sign

MIRACLE MILE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- One day after turning himself in, the artist accused of changing the Hollywood sign to read "Hollyweed" detailed his thoughts behind the prank to Eyewitness News.

Though many people may not know the name Zachary Fernandez, they've certainly seen how he changed the iconic landmark and took social media by storm on New Year's Day.

"About 2:20 a.m. I got dropped off and I ran up and noticed that there was no security guard at the gate," Fernandez said. "I checked the handle and it was locked. I look at the gate and thought, 'I can probably hop this.'"

Fernandez said he did in fact hop the gate. After going up the mountain and jumping over a second fence, he finally reaching the iconic sign.

He admitted to climbing the huge letters and covering the O's with cut-out bed sheets to make the letters look like E's to spell out "Hollyweed."

Fernandez said his plan was thrown together in just a couple of days. His goal was to pay tribute to the original prankster who did the same in 1976 and also to get people talking about the new state marijuana laws.

"The main purpose was to start a conversation," Fernandez said.

The 30-year-old said the hardest part wasn't climbing up the mountain, but coming back down.

"I started running and I rolled my ankle as I stepped on a rock," Fernandez recalled.

But the artist said it was all worth the trouble.

"Looking and seeing fireworks going off and thinking, 'Wow, this is pretty special up here all by myself,'" Fernandez described.

MORE: Security to increase at Hollywood sign after prank

He may have climbed the Hollywood sign all by himself, but his ex-girlfriend said she was the one who helped him stitch the sheets together. She admitted to having second thoughts about the prank.

"Throughout I felt I was just going along for the ride and wondering if this was actually going to go through or work," she said.

Fernandez surrendered to authorities on Monday and was booked for misdemeanor trespassing.

He was out on bond and scheduled to be in court on Feb. 15.

Fernandez said he turned himself in because people should take ownership for their actions.
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