Police later arrested Austin Clay, 24, on suspicion of felony vandalism. Los Angeles police officer Ray Brown told media that Clay didn’t reveal any motive or reasoning for the alleged act, and he’s currently being held on US$20,000 bail.
Here’s the twist: James Otis, who also took a pickaxe (and jackhammer) to Trump’s star in 2016, says he’s going to bail out Clay. To make matters even more interesting, Otis is a member of the wealthy Otis Elevator family, and he said he was willing to pay US$2,000 if he could find a bondsman willing to cover the rest of the amount.
(As of this writing, that has not happened.)
Otis, 54, was the first to completely destroy Trump’s star two years ago. He dressed in construction-worker gear to appear official, and proceeded to wreck the president’s plaque at the busy tourist spot.
He pleaded no contest in 2017 and agreed to pay US$4,400 in damages. He also performed 20 days of community work.
Jail records show that Clay is still in custody after turning himself in on Wednesday.
“He did call to say he had vandalized the Trump star,” Lt. Karen Leong with LAPD’s Hollywood Division said. “He did say when he called, ‘See you soon.'”
Aside from these two acts of vandalism, Trump’s star has repeatedly been a target. Reports of people spitting on the star, making obscene gestures while posting for photos or even letting dogs defecate on it have been made.
“When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
Trump’s star was dedicated to the now-president in 2007 in recognition of his work on NBC reality show The Apprentice.