The man charged Monday with stealing a gilded statue of Marilyn Monroe from atop a public art piece on Hollywood Boulevard was convicted last year of smashing President Trump’s Walk of Fame star with a pickax.
Austin Mikel Clay, 25, of Glendale, is facing one felony count each of grand theft of property valued at more than $950 and vandalism causing over $400 in damage following the heist caught on video June 16 at the Hollywood and La Brea Gateway, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The sculpture, colloquially known as the Four Ladies of Hollywood gazebo, uses stainless steel statues of actresses Mae West, Anna May Wong, Dolores Del Rio and Dorothy Dandridge that form the base of a structure two stories tall. At the top was Monroe in her best-known pose, standing above a gusting subway grate in the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch.”
Clay is accused of scaling the artwork shortly after 11 p.m. and sawing off Monroe’s likeness. Surveillance video captured a man climbing down from the gazebo, grabbing a backpack and walking away.
The man was then joined by another man, and the two were seen walking east on Hollywood Boulevard with a woman trailing behind. The group ended up at the The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, where they met up with a third man in the lobby, video shows.
LAPD Detective Douglas Oldfield, who is investigating the statue theft, confirmed Clay is the same man who pleaded no contest to vandalizing Trump’s star last year.
In that case, Clay was sentenced to three years’ probation, one day in county jail and 20 days of community labor. He was also ordered to attend psychological counseling and pay more than $9,400 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame.
Clay turned himself in to Beverly Hills police the same day the star was smashed into a pile of powdery rubble. That was the third time the landmark was vandalized, after being pummeled with a sledgehammer and spray-painted with a swastika.
It’s unclear what led investigators to identify Clay as a suspect in the Monroe case, but detectives previously said they were analyzing fingerprints collected from the gazebo.
Clay was arrested at his home last Friday, June 21, police said.
Inmate records showed he remained in custody Monday. Prosecutors said they are asking his bail be set at $45,000.
Clay is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to three years in county jail.