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The Man Behind the Crosses

By Prescott Carlson in Miscellaneous on Feb 17, 2008 6:36PM

Thanks to a comment by Scooter Libbby (what's with the extra "b", Scoots?), we were a little more observant when viewing images of the NIU shootings. The top image above is outside the Tinley Park murder scene, the bottom from NIU. It doesn't take a handwriting expert to see that the printing on the crosses was done by the same person. So who is the person responsible for these makeshift memorials?

After hitting Google for a few minutes, we found him: Greg Zanis, a carpenter from way-west suburban Sugar Grove. Zanis started his "Crosses for Losses" ministry in 1996 after his father-in-law was murdered and Zanis discovered the body. He began leaving crosses at murder and accident scenes all around Aurora, where he was living at the time. Zanis continued to branch out, even traveling to different states. It's safe to say it has become a bit of an obsession, made all the more creepy by the fact that he also creates paintings of the victims' families mourning and holding his crosses and hangs them in his living room.

Zanis received national attention in 1999, when he delivered his crosses to Littleton, Colorodo -- home of the Columbine massacre. Controversy erupted when he decided to include crosses for the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. As you can imagine, some of the victims' parents weren't very appreciative of this gesture.

He's also stirred things up by leaving crosses at the home of the not-yet-found Lisa Stebic, at the Vaughn family's house, and at the scene of the Windy City Core Supply murders, where one victim was Muslim and three were Jewish.

His crosses have also been seen at infamous local disaster sites like the Lincoln Park porch collapse and the E2 nightclub stampede.

And if all that weren't enough, he's also built an 8,000 pound electric car:

This dude obviously has a lot of time on his hands. Here's the full-sized "Dream Car" in action.

Photos from the Tribune website