Anonymous Donor Ups Stolen Memorial Reward by $100,000

WASHINGTON — The reward fund for the cross-shaped Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial that was stolen Sunday night just increased from $25,000 to $125,000, thanks to the generosity of a decorated combat veteran who wishes to remain anonymous.

"We are extremely grateful for the $100,000 contribution to the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial reward fund that the nonprofit group, Family Security Matters, was able to arrange from a private donor," said Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries. 

"We may never know the donor's name, but the VFW wants to personally thank him for caring enough to get involved," he said. "These thieves desecrated a national war memorial that was erected to honor America's war dead. They must be caught, prosecuted and jailed in a federal prison, and we hope that will happen quickly now that the total reward money has been upped to $125,000."

Carol A. Taber, president of Family Security Matters, said she was honored to provide the donation on behalf of an anonymous, combat-wounded veteran and Silver Star recipient. 

"We are confident that our donor's generosity will help to bring the criminals to justice," she said, "and that the message rings loud and clear that we will never allow such a vile crime that defiles the memory of our nation's war dead to stand — not now, not ever."

Anyone with information relating to the crime should call the National Park Service Tip Line at 1-760-252-6120. The reward money is for information that directly leads to the apprehension and conviction of the thieves. To contribute to the reward fund, go to the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial website at