The 7-foot cross that was stolen from a veterans' memorial in the Mojave Desert this month was replaced overnight Wednesday — and authorities are now deciding whether to let the shrine stand or tear it down.
The National Park Service is currently evaluating the cross to determine whether it is the original, which was ripped from its rocky perch on May 9 in a nighttime heist that shocked the site's caretakers and outraged veterans nationwide.
Their measurements could determine whether the cross survives the day. Sources told FoxNews.com that the Park Service will allow it to remain standing only if it is the original; if it is a replica, they will remove it.UPDATE: Authorities say a Mojave Desert war memorial cross that replaced one that was stolen is a replica and must come down. Sad and unfortunate, but based on current state of law, the correct ruling.
Linda Slater, a spokeswoman with the Mojave National Preserve, says a maintenance worker spotted the 7½-foot replica cross made of metal pipes on Thursday in a federal park.
The original cross was stolen more than a week ago. It had been the subject of a lawsuit arguing that the Christian symbol didn't belong on public land.
The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily allowed the old cross to stand, but Slater says the new cross isn't covered by the ruling and will be taken down.