The cross is valued at more than $300, but it's worth far more than that to the friends and family of Officer Michael Builta. It was pulled from the ground at a busy intersection in Colorado Springs. It happened sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning. The cross was dedicated to the 34-year-old Colorado Springs police officer who was killed in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago.
The cross was donated by the City of Colorado Springs. It had only been there for about a week and a half. The cross was permanently placed near Tutt Blvd. and Barnes Rd. That's where Officer Builta was killed.
It's a busy Colorado Springs intersection. Family and friends of the victim say someone must have seen something. After all, the cross is 3-feet tall. "It was a big shiny cross," said Casey Hutchison who is the Builta family spokesperson.
City engineers even helped put the cross in place. They used a steel post and anchored it several feet into the ground. It was done to turn what had been a makeshift memorial into something permanent.
The news of the cross being swiped came as a surprise. "I thought no way. So, when we came down, it was gone," said Hutchison.
It appears that whoever snatched the cross spent some time and energy doing it. "The best I could figure is that they wiggled it until it could pull straight out," said Hutchison.
It vanished while most people slept. "It's just sad," said Hutchison. Sad that someone would actually snatch a cross from another person's memorial site.
"I'm mad. It's ridiculous. The whole community pulled together for this family and done their part to help and then this happens," said Hutchison.
Part of the reason the cross was placed there was so that Builta's family and friends could visit, pay their respects and in some way feel closer to him.
"It's a 36-inch tall diamond plate aluminum cross with his name machined into," said Hutchison.
Here's a message to whoever stole the cross. "There would be no questions asked. We just want it back," said Hutchison. So that the cross can be placed back where it belongs.
Hutchison is confused why anyone would want it anyway since it has Officer Builta's name etched on it.
If you have the cross, please return it to any Colorado Springs police station. Or if you know who might have it, you can remain anonymous and call Crimestoppers at 634-STOP. Your information could also earn you a cash reward.