By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A man was arrested on Thursday for defacing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s star a day earlier on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles with a sledgehammer and a pickax, police said.
A man who identified himself to local media as James Lambert Otis was captured on video in a hard hat and reflective vest as he hacked at the star before dawn on Wednesday on a bustling sidewalk in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood.
Trump, the former host of NBC’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” received his Walk of Fame star in 2007.
City police on Thursday arrested a man for felony vandalism in connection with the stunt and took him to Men’s Central Jail, police spokesman Aareon Jefferson said in a phone interview.
Jefferson said he could not immediately provide the man’s name.
Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame is completely destroyed after someone took a pickaxe to it … and LAPD is on the case.
Otis had planned to turn himself in to police later on Thursday morning after holding a news conference, according to Los Angeles-based City News Service.
Otis told City News on Wednesday that when he hacked at Donald Trump’s star he had intended to remove it, which he was unable to do, and auction it off to benefit women who have accused Trump of groping them. Trump has denied the women’s allegations.
Trump drew widespread condemnations from voters and a number of Republican elected officials after a 2005 video emerged in which he was heard talking on an open microphone about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman.
The vandalism on Wednesday left Trump’s name scratched out of the star, the emblem in the middle dislodged and chips missing.
The Republican presidential nominee, real estate developer and former reality TV star has faced several large protests during his campaign appearances in California, where opinion polls show him far behind Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
A spokeswoman for Trump could not immediately be reached for comment.
Leron Gubler, president and chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the hundreds of star plaques on sidewalks in the Los Angeles neighborhood, said in a statement on Wednesday that the star would be covered for several days during repairs.
In the summer, a street artist erected a tiny wall around Trump’s star, complete with miniature American flags and barbed wire. The art piece, which was later removed, made light of Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)