Embattled Mohave Cross Stolen From Preserve

05.12.10 | FL News Team

Thieves have stolen the eight-foot-tall metal cross from the Mohave National Preserve in the California desert, just two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it could remain on the rocky mound. According to "The Washington Times," the thieves dug up the so-called Mohave Cross late Sunday night or early Monday morning. The cross was erected in 1934 to honor fallen soldiers from World War One. The Mohave Cross has been the flash point for court battles since 2001, when a lawsuit was filed by a former preserve official who had objections to the symbol. Some believe the high court's decision on April 28th prompted someone to steal the cross.

The Southern California branch of the ACLU had claimed the Christian symbol embedded on federal reserve property was in violation of the First Amendment ban on the establishment of religion. The longtime caretakers of the Mohave Cross say whether the symbol is returned or not, they plan to erect a similar cross in its place. The Liberty Institute has offered a 25-thousand-dollar reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.