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Roadside memorial crosses recovered

By Lauren Maxwell 11:34 PM October 12, 2013

Police say the man who took them felt offended by the crosses so he took them down

ANCHORAGE – A family who’s been grieving the loss of their son has gotten some good news. The mystery of who’s been taking crosses down from his roadside memorial has been partially solved.

Justin Ashley is the young man who was killed in a motorcycle crash this summer, just a day before his 21st birthday. Friends put up a large cross at the corner of Old Seward and Industry Way where it happened, but that cross and dozens of others that followed kept disappearing in the middle of the night.

Friends who were monitoring the site snapped a photo of a man loading some of the crosses into a vehicle. The photo showed his license plate, which police used to contact him. He told police he found the crosses offensive and felt others would be offended too. So as soon as the family put up a new one, he took it down.

Justin’s father Brian said he was shocked that someone would have such little regard for a memorial, and that it could cause such great offense.

“He has a right to feel that way and I’d never take that right away from him because that’s what makes this country great, “ Ashley said. “But we all do need to respect each other and that’s what it all boils down to.”

The crosses were dropped off Thursday night. Police say the man felt remorseful, although he hasn’t come forward to meet the family. Police say he will not be prosecuted, because what he did was technically not illegal since the memorial is located in a public right of way.

The family still hasn’t recovered the cross which was most important to them. It’s a large white cross which was handmade for Justin’s memorial and also the first to disappear. They hope whoever has it will drop it off at the site or bring it to police.

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