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Cross disappears from rocky perch

Two seen removing cross from hillside overlooking Mojave Narrows bridge

VICTORVILLE • Terry Cunningham's daily prayer ritual was stopped short on Sunday, as he watched two people take down a large white cross that overlooked the Mojave Narrows bridge.

“If I find out who did it, I will be filing a civil lawsuit against the people or organization behind this,” Cunningham, 60, said. “I’m not a religious freak, but our freedom of speech and religion are slowly being taken away from us and it’s got to stop.”

Just before he headed off to church, Cunningham witnessed two unidentified individuals removing the cross from the rocky hill, followed by another individual who was seen at the location on Monday.

“Nobody here at the park knows what happened to our cross,” said Bobbi Brooks, manager of the River Ranch Mobile Park, which sits at the base of the hill. “People here see the cross as a message of hope.”

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials said Monday they had not received any calls about the cross, and messages to the City of Victorville were not returned Monday. The Town of Apple Valley was closed.

As word of the missing cross spread online, Sandy Woolard posted that the Victorville incident sounds similar to the cross that was stolen from Mojave National Park east of Barstow.

In 2010, a cross honoring war dead was stolen from the Mojave preserve, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the cross didn’t violate separation of church and state because the public land it stood on was being transferred to a veterans group.

“I bet if you put a picture of Satan up there on that hill nobody would touch it,” Cunningham said. “That cross means a lot to me and many people who see it.”

Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.

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