May 21, 2010
Has the Mojave Cross have been removed for good?
A cross replacing the original at the Mojave Desert war memorial has been declared illegal and taken down.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the 9th Circuit overstepped its bounds when it ruled the cross must be removed. Since then, the memorial had remained covered with a plywood box until it was stolen on May 9.
Linda Slater, public information officer with the Mojave National Preserve, said the cross that mysteriously appeared last week was unauthorized.
"The main reason that we can't put a replacement cross up or allow one to be put up," she said, "is because we are under court order to not display a cross on Sunrise Rock."
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of Liberty Institute, said his team will work to convince the Justice Department to replace the cross.
"That's not a proper act to take," he said. "Our veterans deserve more than that, and that memorial needs to be put back up."
An anonymous donation means there is a $125,000 reward posted for tips leading to the conviction of whoever stole the cross that served as a memorial to Americans who served during World War I.
A decorated military veteran offered $100,000 for the reward, said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for Liberty Institute. That figure was added to the previous $25,000 offer.
The cross stood at Sunrise Rock, which is about 15 miles south of the 15 Freeway along Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve.